Listen to the Album from Greg LaFollette!
Listen to the New Album From Greg LaFollette!

JFH Indie Review

JFH Indie Music Spotlight Review

Duane Forrest

Duane Forrest
The Climb

Album length: 13 tracks: 40 minutes, 37 seconds
Street Date: June 19, 2017
Buy It: iTunes


Genre-blending can be the bane of many an artist. It only really works when a songwriter can pool the most complementary elements of each style together in a way that is also pleasant to the ear. Thus, when I saw that Duane Forrest's album The Climb was being self-described as a mixture of "Bossa Nova, Reggae, Folk, and Jazz," I was as intrigued as I was nervous. Although not every track accomplishes this feat well, the songs that feel equal parts Jack Johnson and Bob Marley are what make this release pretty enjoyable.

From the opening verse of "Edge Of The Sea," it becomes apparent that this album isn't trying to be energetic or packed with radio-friendly excitement. Instead, the song offers pleasantly minimal guitars, strangely ominous percussion, and oceanic soundscapes. Even though this is the most bare track on the album, it captures the tone of light-hearted, beachy fun that runs throughout most of these songs. The opener segues well into the best stretch of songs I've heard in a while. From "Piece Of Cake" to "The Walk," everything from industrial drums to Spanish guitars to prominent strings to reggae organs come together to paint a uniquely cohesive sonic palette. This variety works to keep the listener engaged while being constantly surprised without sacrificing musical integrity and falling into genre tropes.

Nevertheless, the blend of styles on the second half of the album doesn't feel quite as intentional. As the gimmicky cracks begin to show on songs like "1 Night Stand" (which also features uncomfortable lines like "I'm not like them other guys/Gentlemen on the outside/Gentle when they touch your thighs/But they wanna take advantage of you"), the repetitive structures and underdeveloped ideas feel more noticeable. Additionally, Forrest's excessively breathy vocal style becomes a bit tiring on the ears. Props must be given to his commitment to genre-blending, but the dip in quality towards the end prevents the album from sticking the landing.

Forrest is also quite consistent in his dedication to extravagantly cheesy love lyrics. Lines like "You are my piece, my piece of cake/When I really need to escape" on "Piece Of Cake" are a dime a dozen, but they at least feel stylistically appropriate. Forrest is able to veer away from a number of romantic clichés, which is impressive considering that is what most songs focus on, but some lyrical variety to match the musical variety would have been appreciated.

The Climb admittedly doesn't hit all the marks that it tries to hit, but Forrest's ambitious adherence to genre-blending is admirable; he certainly has more potential to create more unified efforts than the typical indie artist. If you're looking for something diverse and easy to listen to by the pool during the waning moments of this summer, there's definitely enough here that will be worth your while.

- Review date: 8/8/17, written by Mason Haynie of Jesusfreakhideout.com


Check out the new single from Mike Rathke!

 

. Record Label: 676692 Records DK
. Album length: 13 tracks: 40 minutes, 37 seconds
. Street Date: June 19, 2017
. Buy It: iTunes

  1. Edge of the Sea (3:28)
  2. Peace of Cake (2:55)
  3. Oceans (3:25)
  4. Policia (2:57)
  5. The Walk (3:23)
  6. Mid Summer Night's Dream (2:42)
  7. 1 Night Stand (4:25)
  8. Warrior 1 (2:56)
  9. Wedding Bells (2:41)
  10. G'morning Bossa (1:35)
  11. Chevrolet (3:01)
  12. End of the World (3:12)
  13. Mariela of My Dreams (3:56)

 

 

 

go to main Indie review page
go to Indie Review Index

 

           
Check out the new single from Mike Rathke!

Search JFH



This Friday, April 3, 2020
Anchor & Braille Dangerous - Single [Tooth & Nail]
August Burns Red Guardians [Fearless]
Bri Babineaux The Encounter [Tyscot/Integrity]
Dave Barnes Dreaming in Electric Blue (independent)
Bethel Music Egypt - Single [Bethel]
Elevation Worship My Testimony - Single (independent)
Equippers Revolution FRVR - EP [DREAM]
Greg LaFollette I'll Wait for you, My Love (independent)
Tasha Layton/font> Into the Sea (It's Gonna Be OK) - Single [BEC]
Mosaic MSC Fountain (I Am Good) - Single [Capitol CMG]
Natasha Owens Stand - Single [Radiate]
Passion Roar (Live From Passion 2020) (CD) [Sixsteps]
Planetshakers Glory Part Two EP [Venture3Media]
RED Declaration [RED/The Fuel]
Vineyard Kids We Shine - YouTube Single [Vineyard Worship/Integrity]
Wande Happy - Single [Reach]
Ian Yates Mystery [7 Core]

Next Friday, April 10, 2020
Charles Billingsley I Was Made for This [StowTown/Provident]
GAWVI Heathen [Reach]
The Inspirations Ever Old, Ever New [Horizon]
Mike Rathke The Drawing Fire EP (independent)


For all release dates, click here!
 



Check out the new book from JFH Staff Member Tin Can Caldwell!




Listen to the new album from Jacob Goiins!