This may be the first album of its kind: fully pop and fully post-rock, with three potential vocal-led singles AND three long tracks containing some of the year’s best post-rock crescendos. Sydney brothers Mike and Dave Evans cite influences ranging from Mumford & Sons to Sigur Rós, and the comparisons make sense. Add Coldplay and Ef, and the picture is complete.
Will post-rock purists be upset? Possibly. But this album is good for post-rock. Sigur Rós opened the door, and Of Monsters and Men busted it down. Forgonia insists that the timbres and compositional structures of post-rock need not be exclusive or secret. Those brought in by the pop elements may discover the post-rock elements, and want more. While post-rock will never be conquered by the mainstream, it may become integrated into the mainstream, enjoying the attention many thought might never arrive.
Forgonia suggests that the album is best played as a whole, but for the sake of discussion, let’s start in the middle. Tracks 3-5 are quality folk pop, boosted by strings and other languid instrumentation. One can imagine them hitting the charts, but considering what else is on the charts right now, such additions would be welcome.
Now consider the instrumentals (tracks 6 & 1). Each begins with piano, a reflection of the fact that Nils Frahm and Olafur Arnalds are also mentioned as influences. “Baratveir” is the more restrained track, containing (of all things!) a melodic line from “O Come, All Ye Faithful”) while “Tonlistila” is the more exuberant. Each adds glockenspiel, the former gently, the latter in a flourish. Same band, same album; the ears perk up, wondering what is going on.
Now we get to the heart of the album for post-rock fans, found on tracks 2, 7 and 8. (Keep in mind that the inverse is true for folk/pop fans.) Lyrics are present – this is where the Ef comparisons are apt – but such breakdowns! “Hold On” is the “short” track, clocking in at 8:33. The lyric section ends at 3:21, providing space for an instrumental interlude on piano and guitar. But wait – here comes a post-rock drum build, leading to an eruption of horns at 5:17. The final three minutes are downright euphoric. The last 7:23 of “Taken” are also instrumental, but the album’s finale “As We Go/Going Home” is its highlight. The track establishes itself early and builds to a rollercoaster of crescendoes. At nearly 14 minutes, it’s evidence of the band’s roots, while at the same time it’s a declaration of intention. Some people are protective of “their” music; others want to share their treasures. Forgonia is of the latter type, and may widen the scene as a result. (Richard Allen)