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¡Forward, Russia! - Life Processes

Forward Russia, Life Processes

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 2 out of 5

¡FORWARD, Russia! follow-up 2006’s acclaimed Give Me A Wall with the more expansive Life Processes, a calamitious sophomore effort that failed to make any sort of impression upon me.

Produced by Matt Bayles (of Mastodon and Pearl Jam fame), the album is billed as an ambitious rock monster that marks a considerable advancement in the ¡Forward, Russia! story. But while there’s plenty to admire in the band’s decision not to stick to formula and to employ some ambitious songwriting, the style and content left me feeling dejected.

According to vocalist and keyboard player Tom Woodhead, each song on the long-player tries to describe a particular facet of life – fear, love, hate, pride, nervousness, confusion and finally acceptance. There’s a beginning, a middle and an end, as well as plenty of epic guitar riffs and swirling electronics.

But Woodhead’s vocals veer so hysterically between high falsetto (a la Justin Hawkins, of The Darkness) and heavier Muse-style territory that they frequently derail the easy flow of proceedings. Spring Is A Condition is a prime example of the vocals not really working [for this reviewer], while the fractured riffs and manic melodies of the pained Don’t Reinvent What You Don’t Understand are another headache in waiting.

Even tracks with potential, such as the atmospheric slow-builder Some Buildings, are let down by the vocals (despite some great guitar work from Whiskas), while Gravity & Heat is just a plain annoying fusion of mean, angry guitar hooks and overly theatrical falsetto wails.

There are some respites, when ¡Forward, Russia! just get on with it, such as the punchy Breaking Standing, the haunting, piano-based Fosbury In Discontent and the atmospheric slow-burner that is Spanish Triangles. But in the main, this is more irritating than impressive.

Download picks: Spanish Triangles, Breaking Standing, Fosbury in Discontent

Track listing:

  1. Welcome To The Moment (The Rest Of Your Life)
  2. We Are Grey Matter
  3. A Prospector Can Dream
  4. Spring Is A Condition
  5. Don’t Reinvent What You Don’t Understand
  6. Some Buildings
  7. Breaking Standing
  8. Gravity & Heat
  9. Fosbury in Discontent
  10. A Shadow Is A Shadow Is A Shadow
  11. Spanish Triangles