Artist: Future of Forestry
Time: 6 tracks/25 minutes
Sometimes it seems criminal the way mediocre bands become successful and sell lots of records while truly great bands, like Future of Forestry, wallow in obscurity, dazzling a small minority of music lovers with terrific tunes. I have only recently discovered Eric Owyoung's labor of love myself, but after picking up all three of his Travel EPs at once, I am astounded at the level of talent and cohesive vision that he demonstrates in all of these recordings.
I've read comparisons to Coldplay and Keane as far as the sound goes, but I would argue that it's not as bombastic or pretentious as those bands often are. I think a more apt description would be that Owyoung is strongly influenced by OK Computer-era Radiohead, and his music bears a passing resemblance to his peers like Copeland or Ester Drang.
Travel III, despite being a companion piece to the other two EPs, is a recording that can stand on its own two feet. Owyoung mixes things up a bit here as he relies more on electronic beats than in the other two EPs, but there are still plenty of guitars, strings, and other instruments as Owyoung uses the same everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach that worked so well before.
"Bold and Underlined" kicks off the record by hooking you with a muscular guitar riff, but rather than rely completely on that, Owyoung pulls it back and lets pulsating drum beats carry the song before going back to the riff in a jump from the chorus to the verse.
"Protection," the fourth track, brings to mind 90's indie act Fold Zandura as it took live instruments, including drums, and combined them with electronic beats and keyboards.
Even though Owyoung wears many of his influences on his sleeve, he still manages to create a listening experience that is unique in its own way. It would be too easy to pick out the influences and ignore the fact that Owyoung has a terrific ability to write, arrange, and produce songs.
Lyrically, this EP is a bit more oblique than its predecessors. I've noticed that, for the most part, Owyoung tends to not be overt about his faith in his writing, but someone who has faith in Christ can usually read between the lines and interpret what he wants to say. The lyrics on Travel III seem to be of a more personal nature, though it seems that "Working to be Loved" might be a commentary on legalism:
Would it change your mind
if I did good?
I can't express enough how much I now love this band. The Travel EP's alone have given me more than enough incentive to explore Future of Forestry's back catalog, and if you yourself have yet to discover Eric Owyoung's talent, I urge you to go out and support this incredibly talented guy.