What is it about trilogies that make consumers so curious? Time after time, it's always the third installment of movies, books and music that can make or break a series. While concept and series-based albums are nothing new, Future of Forestry have tried their hand at the approach with the Travel EP series, and with the long awaited Travel III finally in our grasp, the trilogy is now complete. The question is, was it ended on the high note it deserved?
"Bold And Underlined" majors on a simple drum scheme and repeated distorted guitar riffs, but paired with somewhat ambiguous but striking lyrics, it's a captivating opener ("I think I'm falling slow, I think I'm falling fast/You think that time would know how long the feeling would last/I wonder how you give, I wonder how you pray/I wonder how you live and drive your demons away"). "Working To Be Loved" is mostly acoustic guitar led, but with a strong section filling in the chorus, it quickly becomes a more complicated song than it starts. The real treasure of the EP, however, resonates in "Did You Lose Yourself?". With layers and layers of synthesizers and a beautiful string section in the tune's climax, it's easily one of the most epic songs recorded by FOF and rivals the majesty of Travel II's "Slow Your Breath Down." Even though half of the song is purely instrumental, it's the vocal-straining chorus that transcends to the listener and makes the song so memorable ("Did you lose yourself?/Did you leave yourself behind?/Did you lose yourself?/Did you let your heart unwind?").
"Protection" is the most uncharacteristic of the EP, almost carrying an industrial rock sound to the plate. Indeed, if the lyrics' nature wasn't so positive, Nine Inch Nails could have easily covered this song given its dark nature and lack of order ("Been burned, been fooled, been lied to/I want to reach you/You been healed, been wise, been sung to/I want to reach you//Trust me, I can feel what happened/I can hear your dangerous question/Trust me, I can see you want protection/You want protection"). Flittering synths, smooth violins and thumping percussion make up the core of the brief but stunning "Horizon Rainfall," which while the shortest offering on Travel III is hardly lacking in musical atmosphere. The EP's finale, "Your Day's Not Over," consists of a xylophone's chimes with a full orchestral ensemble accompanying shortly after.
While this reviewer could very well be in the minority to possess this mindset, Travel I was an overall dreary and uneventful beginning to the series. The striking "Traveler's Song" aside, the songs were very well produced, but meandered between melodramatic and uninteresting. Travel II was a dramatically different story; with plenty of artistic quality, catching lyrics and overall likeability, it ranked among the best EPs of 2009. It almost seemed a little surreal how much better it sounded than the first. Travel II seemed so obviously the best installment by far, but it's the inclusion of Travel III in the equation that makes it all the more complicated.
Comparing Travel III to its predecessors, it's quite possibly the best of the series, maybe even FOF's best work to date. With an immense amount of musical variety and ambition, it hits all the right notes while maintaining a state of cohesiveness and style. No matter how it's sliced, Travel III is still an EP, but what Future of Forestry has achieved in these six songs is extraordinary and undoubtedly more than worth a listener's ear. It's quality over quantity, no doubt, but as a result, Travel III is driven to be among the best projects of 2010.- Review date: 7/26/10, written by Roger Gelwicks of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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