I’ve liked Forus, and their fast, technical skate punk, since I first heard them in 2007, and have been eagerly awaiting new album Lights. The record was funded last year via Kickstarter, with gifts including Forus skate decks. The band have always seemed to embrace the skate punk ethos, with fast drums, immaturity and American accents, despite coming from France.
However, Lights in a different beast. Starting the album with the previously linked song ‘War’s Not Over, I’ve Just Found the Flag’, you can hear the intricate tapping, but as the song builds, it seems more grown up than previous songs. Sure, it has a blistering pace, plenty of sudden stops and shouted vocals like you’d expect, but there seems more to the song. Guitarists Michel Garcia and Bastien Lamarque almost fight for the role of lead guitar, and complement each other perfectly. The next few tracks follow in this vein, until you reach ‘If All Else Fails (Breathe In)’. A slow intro, with spoken words about losing a mother to cancer, which are oddly emotive for a skate punk album.
From then on the album picks up speed, and after my personal favourite track ‘If All Else Fails (Breathe Out)’ the songs become much heavier. This does give the album a bit of disjointed feel, almost like a combination of two EPs. But these are both very good EPs, so I can forgive them. Basically, the first half of the album is more Belvedere and the second is more A Wilhelm Scream.
I’ve tried for to compare Forus’ maturation to that of wine, but it just doesn’t seem to work. So, let’s go for lager. Their first EP, Start From Zero, was like Carling; nothing wrong with it, and if you’re that way inclined, very good. Aaron’s Revolution, their second EP, was like Beck’s; more sophisticated, a whole lot cleaner, and thoroughly enjoyable. And finally, Lights is like Beck’s Black. It tastes the same, looks the same, but you know something is different and it has the ability to knock you on your arse much more easily. Lights is definitely one of the highlights of 2014 for me so far.
– Alex Ryan