The Forum, an alternative/indie rock group based out of Gainesville, Florida, makes its debut with a prayer for rain and shade.
“Rain/Shade” is the group’s first EP, and it delivers a melancholic but nonetheless tense, seductive set of songs. Michael Higgins, lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist; Nick Wheeler, lead guitarist; Jacob Farrell, bassist; Alex Klausner, drummer, play off each other’s strengths to create a work that manages to capture the essence of youthful pain.
“Car” starts off the EP with an explosive energy and subdued angst. The rhythm guitar, drums and bass produce a rippling wall of sound while the lead guitar plays a delicate riff that creates an eternal flicker of longing. This sentiment ties heavily into the lyrics of the song, which deal with the universal desire to escape from difficult circumstances.
“If there were wings where my shoulders are/I would close my eyes and fly so far/But right now I need to get away/ I’ll get into my car.”
It’s hard for any songwriter to describe a sentiment as harsh as this in such a frank manner. Higgins’ sudden awareness of his own limitations when it comes to the ability to simply escape is biting.
The Forum’s discussion quickly shifts in the subsequent song, “The Strangers”.
Rhythm, bass and drums continue to hold down a hard hitting pace while the lead guitar switches to being a swirling convoy of sound. A sense of movement is formed as Higgins’ describes shuffling through the rows of a typical lecture hall. In his eyes, a tattooed girl and her potential lover. Over the course of the spring, the two strangers fall in love in front of the song’s narrator.
It’s a memento of one person’s micro experience. A simple love story that will continue to echo as long as lecture halls exist.
Throughout the album, Higgins’ voice retains a soft, tender tone that the band adapts well to. Klausner and Farrell provide a backbone that gives the songs an edge while giving Wheeler and Higgins’ room to give a soothing voice to the melody.
All in all, The Forum manages to create a captivating listening experience. “Rain/Shade” is a collage of stirring, organic songs that is only limited by the band’s youth.
You can check out The Forum’s EP on Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes and CD Baby.