What happens when you take some angsty, Illinois-native kids, give them some instruments to strum, bang on, or sing into, and lastly record their album? Answer: Forever Young, a quintet that has more Punk than Pop and would fit in extremely well with a young Saves the Day. On their debut from Broken Rim Records, Forever Young make it obvious that they’re going Out On A Limb.
Rather than rehashing the multiple Posi-Pop-Punksters’ messages that are currently drowning out the rest of the genre, FY look to combine catchy melodies with bittersweet, relatable lyrics. At about only twenty-four minutes, Out on a Limb is a great debut album from a band that can get lost in the shuffle of the deluge of other bands in the genre. Nevertheless, what makes them stand out from the crowd is how quickly they can get their point across in just one song. Floor Space is the first non-introduction track on the record and clocks in at just under two minutes. It is an odd overture of sorts in the way that the lyrics are extremely relatable, the music is catchy, and the vocals rage, just as they all do on the rest of the record. And, to keep things interesting for a somewhat “predictable” genre, the bridge takes on a walking bass pattern that leads the rest of the song to a quick ending with the honest and feeling, "I wanted to say that starting today I’m feeling better so please stay away".
One of the catchiest songs on the record, the eponymous Out On A Limb takes extreme anger and makes it amazingly cathartic in the lyrics and the ripping guitars, pounding drums, and raging vocals. The chorus here takes a good song and makes it a great one, right in the center of the record to keep the pace alive: “My heart will never have his way with me / My eyes are blind but my mind will always see / You should stay the fuck away from me”. Simple, yes, but that’s forgivable for the effectiveness it produces; even those in happy relationships who haven’t thought of their shitty exes in years will immediately yell along with bobbing heads.
Torch Runner, the penultimate track, slows everything down at its start, thus showing a completely different side to FY. Even though soft guitars introduce the song for only about twenty-five seconds of the almost three-minute track, the distortion and speed (although somewhat decreased) come back quickly enough, and the listener is once again at home on FY’s album. There’s softer guitar layering in the song, revealing FY’s ability to complement instruments rather than just have one lead or a harmonic octave played. Although this song is pretty down in terms of theme and content, the closer Over This ups the catchiness factor again and ends Out on a Limb on a strong, upbeat note. A bit more verbose than the “war cry” of “I’m not sad anymore”, FY and co. end the album in a sadly generic fashion: gang vocals on the line “I’m moving forward so let’s say I’m over this / Left you pretending as the water fills your chest / We’ll finally know how it feels to put this all to rest”. Although the song itself is a great way to close an otherwise mostly sad album on a positive note while still retaining a melancholy line or two, it feels like there could’ve been more in terms of creativity to finish it. With so many bands constantly closing EPs and records with gang vocals, FY gets lost in the crowd just this once.
While no new ground is broken on Forever Young’s Out on a Limb and some of the songs begin to sound a little too similar throughout the twenty-four minutes, the Punk Rock music they play is honest and heartfelt, with lyrics that easily touch listeners on an extremely personal basis. Even though there are some moments that could’ve been done differently (and better), not everyone can always hit the bullseye with everything: this is how a debut album should sound from a band working on a career in today’s overflowing Pop-Punk scene.
2. Floor Space
3. Weight Games
4. Better Days
5. Out On A Limb
6. Clear The Coast
7. Restless Mind
9. Torch Runner
10. Over This
Written by Joe Wasserman