Forbear – 10songs

CD/vinyl, Like A Fool Records, 2020

There’s nothing particularly unexpected about what Forbear do on 10songs, but they navigate familiar channels of 1990s-influenced indie rock extremely deftly and deliver with a positive energy that infuses even the more melancholy moments like Birds and Walkaway with an extra spark of life. In the more explicitly up-in-your-face moments like Lily and album highlight Dull, the combination of simple, insistent, two-note guitar yowl, enthusiastic drum clatter and twin vocal seduction is electrifying. You can hear a hint of shoegaze in the honey-sweet male/female dream pop vocal harmonies, but the way the band package it in short, punkish, rough-diamond bursts often feels like a fuzz-tinted melodic detour off the back of late Hüsker Dü rather than dissolving the self in obsessive layers of ego death distortion a la My Bloody Valentine. With other touchstones including the rough-edged noise-pop of The Vaselines and the vocal interplay of early Supercar, 10songs fits reassuringly in an international tradition poised on the edge between scuzzy guitar rock and infectious melodies and hooks.

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