By Nathan Pavolko
Shoegaze has, only within the past few years, become a major part of my musical palette. I had heard the greats before like My Bloody Valentine and The Jesus and Mary Chain but never truly appreciated them until recently. Shoegaze is that beautiful disaster, blending the crunch and scratch of fuzz and the soaring heights of reverb, creating an odd feeling of a grounded dream world, a loud reality and celestial fantasy coexisting as one. Brisbane’s own shoegaze/noise rock duo FOREVR have accomplished such an amazing balance with their debut EP Demonstration, which has been hailed by Rotunda Media and Australia’s Triple J Radio as “making shoegaze sexy” and “the perfect shoegaze”.
When I had read what FOREVR had created I was ecstatic to hear it. So before I pressed play I was sure to crank up the volume, because like all abrasive music, it's best heard LOUD. I press play and immediately I am covered in a shimmering blanket of fuzzed-out diving guitar in the track “Yucatan". A sparse rippling synthesizer comes and goes like rain hitting a puddle of water. Sam George-Allen’s angelic voice gracefully sails through the waves of noise as a tinny, almost industrial, sounding drum machine clacks to an 80’s style beat. I’m especially taken by the chorus of “Yucatan” with the pounding rhythm and driving guitar line that shifts gears into this bizarre splattering fuzz, ending in an orchestral choir of George-Allen’s beautiful voice accompanied by synth.
The second tune out of the four track EP “Heart of Ice” is my personal favorite. It's a remarkably textured song with the crunch and cackle of the static on an old television; the brightness of a glistening lake. Syncopated drums chime and propel the song forward as long drawn-out notes blast out of an over-driven guitar. An almost haunting voice echoes the sharpness of the guitar and synth. An extremely low bass synth holds a few notes, crushing the song downwards into the grit. This breathes a pulling sensation between the guitar and bass. “Heart of Ice” has a strange stillness as if swimming underwater then surfacing for only a split second for a gasp of air. It's a beautifully written tune with a splash of isolation and loneliness.
“Midas at Night” has a certain jangle to the intro that you think may take you to an upbeat pop tune then dramatically slows down to a staggering pace. An enormous sounding guitar sways back and forth between rising synthesizers lifting it back to its feet. "Midas at Night” has the thickness of MBV and the glimmering voice of Lush or Cocteau Twins. FOREVR teases you with a slight build up throughout the song, anticipating a melodic chorus near the end but instead they ride out the wave. I find this fascinating, leaving you wanting more before the last track, making the perfect segue into the sexy closer “Forgive”.
“Forgive” is a showcase of Demonstration’s greatest strengths, colliding the familiar sounds you’ve heard throughout the EP into a breath of fresh air, while a thumping bass synth sets the tone of a sensual and broken song. The cavernous echoing of Donovan Miller's guitar add to the broken pieces scattered. George-Allen’s wounded voice croons over top, as a simple and open drum beat leaves plenty of space for the song to exhale in a relieved sigh.
Demonstration has a brilliance to it. With only four tracks clocking in at eighteen minutes FOREVR captures the classic elements of older shoegaze and intertwines them with industrial electronic melancholy. The future seems very bright for this band, and I can only imagine the creativity they would have with a full length. Which is currently in production. Demonstration is out now via Soundcloud or Bandcamp at a name-your-own price download. Physical copies are for sale as well available in a jet black CD or an awesome limited edition gold cassette tape. For fans of classic shoegaze with a great flair of originality and vibrance check out FOREVR’s Demonstration.