Montag, 20. Januar 2014

Song Review: Caution! It's a trap - Forever Cult's single 'Suntrap' mesmerizes and captivates with an original, feisty and bold genre mix

What makes me want to review albums, EPs, songs of certain music makers?

Boldly spoken, it's a personal, subjective decision. It's one to taste, almost always bound to an emotional connection established between the composition, often also between the musician and me as a writer. I assume it's one out of several benefits when writing about independent artists, as they seem to be as interested to interact with you as a supporter, as an enthusiast of their music, as you are to find what motives, themes the very same bears, what kind of people 'hide' behind the compositions. I found that independent artists care about your interest, your opinion on their music. It's a relationship of mutual appreciation and respect, an exchange of ideas, impressions and thoughts. The listener slowly gains an insight into the emotional and conceptual depth of the music by which the artist bares his soul and shares his individual story. In line with this, there is a personal, distinct grasp of music involved: whilst the music maker reveals his emotional life, sometimes by illustrating his very own, sometimes by depicting someone else's experiences or by visualizing a scenario of emotional value, the audience develops a sense of understanding, of sympathy and empathy in respect to the tonal confessions, to the melodious stories told.

Taste in music, one's preferences in terms of genre, should be given weight too, as both come along with the affinity, the sentimental involvement mentioned above. It's undeniable that by forming an opinion about music, the listener is influenced by his personality, his background and thereby makes a choise based on memories, emotions. Commonly a point is reached, when the listener begins to relate to the tonal picture painted, when he realizes the tonal tale embraced by the musician bears familiar themes. I, for instance, have a penchant for acoustics, mellow compositions, yet this doesn't mean, I don't approve to, I don't appreciate other genres. It just more likely occurs that I feel connected to laid-back, smooth and placid, 'stripped' (acoustic) compositions more quickly and with greater intensity at first.

It shows opening up to music, growing fond of diverse genres, is eventually a process. It's not strictly based on bias for specific kinds of music, but severely influenced by liking and emotional attachement. Still, you can't certainly tell you dislike something if you haven't given it a chance at all, so as a listener you might be surprised by particular genres, by their features and pecularities (as I have been in respect to electronic music – there is cunning, melodious and complex one, try Charm Offensive, SquidThief, Analogue Wave and GRIM) if you only dare to listen.

It's true, I take time to conceive a thorough opinion on whether music is worth both listenting to more than once and worth reviewing, my initial favour and liking though comes about quickly. At times it only takes an instant, a few seconds until a song graps me, strikes with all its tonal and compositional might without even having shown its full potential yet. I'm hooked right away, with a eccentric bass line, with a rousing drum intro, with mellow or raspy, characteristic vocals, with a specific sequence of chimes. I'm curious to continue listening and find how a song starting off strong, evolves. It also happens though that some time passes until I grow really fond of a song, that it takes several times of indulgence for me to fully appreciate and embrace its quality and character. Still there's almost everytime a certain characteristic within a composition that makes it worthwile to wait for it to grow on me. Music of any kind, if it's well composed and thoughtout one, can ignite a spark, arouse my attention and interest and achieve that I'm on fire for it. Once I'm lured, a song haunts me, lingers on my mind, to the point that I give in and try to put into words what I sense, what I perceive whilst listening to it, what is so distinct and captivating about it that it simply won't leave hold of me. The progress of reviewing is initiated. It's a natural progress, all too gladly embraced by me.

Listening to music is 'daily business' for me. I do so if I seek comfort, if I want to dwell on thoughts, if I want to unwind. I do so for pleasure and also to find musical magnificence that is new to me. It's something I'm passionate about, hence it's easy for music to reach me, for music to reach out to me. With a vast amount of gifted, subtle and perceptive musicians, bands, singers/songwriters and producers out there, it's equally easy to find albums, EPs and songs to be outspoken, to write about. It's up to me to choose artists I want to call attention to, but since music goes unpredictable ways, it also happens that musicians themselves reach out to me, that independent record labels ask me to engange myself in their (suggested) music.

Forever Cult [f.l.t.r.: Aaron Snowdon (drums), Kieran Clark (vocals, guitar), Alex Greaves (bass)]

Scott Lewis, one of the founding members of the Leeds based independent label Clue Records, contacted me in early 2014 and wanted to arouse my interest to a band described best as a 3 piece alternative rock outfit combining heavydark grunge bits with vivacioussassy instrumental hooks and catchy lyrics. Hailing from West Yorkshire and having released a debut EP ('Fuxx') in 2013, Forever Cult brings along a refreshing, energetic, yet also defined and fierce sound. A sound I was immediately hooked on - trapped in - when listening to the band's forthcoming single 'Suntrap' on Dr. Bones music show. I was lured and inclined to pay attention to these guys [Kieran Clark (vocals, guitar), Aaron Snowdon (drums), Alex Greaves (bass)], to grant their music (as it should become apparent, a deserved) spot on carpe carmina. Now without further ado, spotlight on Forever Cult and their soon to be released single 'Suntrap' (mark Jan. 27th on your calendar, gents and ladies, the day the song gonna be introduced to a broad audience as part of Independent Venue Week 2014, the day the song gonna be available to purchase and download).

Kieran Clark, vocalist of Forever Cult

'I get so caught in the suntrap' - the marked and gloomily echoing vocals lure the listener into the song, with a resigned attitude to them, yet also with engrossing intensity. Accompanied by reserved but atmospheric and imbuing guitar riffs, which herald a subsequent spirited and feisty riffage throughout the course of the composition, 'Suntrap' is right at the outset presented in a winning, emphatic manner. Cadenced, hollow drum beats set in, the instrumental scenery is enriched and intensifies, as guitar riffs grow lighter and are more dashing, as the rhythm of the drums clears up and gains vigor and ease, whilst the vocal performance remains equally edgy and dark.

It's at the chorus the anthem character of the song unmistakably manifests itself: the vocals bear more energy, rise up, almost rebel, the vocalist shows more involvement and passion. When accentuated, infectious riffs, a tense bass line and absorbing, vibrant drum beats are complemented by high-pitched and brisk backing vocals, Forever Cult has established a trenchant rhythm and melody that is easy to grasp. At this very point 'Suntrap' has not only revealed its absorbing but also its memorable imprint.

'I get so caught in the suntrap / I've been waiting to get back / I get so lost in the sunset, you know' - The vocals proceed being dim in resonance, resigned in timbre, nevertheless striking once more, and blend in subtly with a brief interlude of ambient and smooth instrumentation. A moment of silence is set up, in which the listener eagerly waits for an orotund, sweeping and gripping echo - and is anwered: the song's catchy chorus is strongly preluded with rousing drum and blurry bass melodies, with a synthesised seeming flarry and raspy guitar attribute.

'You know I go out most nights now / can't stand a witness / when I'm walking on egg shell, / I started smoking in the crush' - sonorous drum beats, fervent and audacious, melodious guitar riffs resonate and play into the dynamic, avid yet incisively raucous vocal performance. The listener witnesses a haunting, keen and melodious music finish, one that stirs and lingers.

'Suntrap' is a thrilling and infectious blend of rough, dominant grunge core and bold, audacious pop traits, catchy lyrical concept and vivacious yet deep, dark and sonorous sound. It's neither brit pop nor grunge, it's a slick and adept musical mixture, transcending genres and combining the best characteristics of both. With its mundane, mature yet also vehement sound, a tense and vivified listening atmosphere is created, an unaltered, true-to-life view is depicted: on a night out, at a pub, a boy is rejected by a girl due to his outward appearance. It doesn't have to be this specific scenario of rejection, of extraneousness forming in your mind whilst listening, yet it can't be denied that 'Suntrap' comes in as a bleak, cynical confession. A candid confession also that calls on the listener to seek for the depth behind the conformity and monotony in music, in life, and herein lies concurrently the stirring, revolting aspect, the punk attitude of Forever Cult's composition(s). It's in general an authentic approach to, a thought-provoking execution of music the band claims by taking upsetting scenes from real life and coming to terms with them musically. The harshness, sincerity, the immediacy of grunge and the blithe yet sometimes bittersweet nature of pop melodies eventually allies and paints a trenchant but mellow tonal picture, makes an unaltered and forthright musical statement. 'Suntrap' is exactly how music combining different genres should sound like: refreshing, bold and profound, what makes it so easy to be trapped in its sound, to be captured by it.

You can reach out to Forever Cult via

... listen to the band's music on

... find out more about Clue Records and some other musicians who have signed with them, here.

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