Forest Fire

Staring at the X
FatCat Records

Staring at the X is Forest Fire’s second album following their acclaimed debut, Survival, which received high praise across tastemaking blogs. The album offers little to distinguish the band though, with guitars and vocals that follow an already well-established tradition, a drawling, slow-pace blurred by frenetic electronics. There are other bands that do this, and do it better.

However, throughout the album there is the sense of something great about to break through, and although it never quite does, this is clearly a band to watch. The central tracks are full of flavour, from the flaring brass in The News to the anticipatory start of They Pray Execution Style. The longed-for drop never comes but nonetheless this is an exceptional track, growing and expanding sublimely.

Intros are perhaps where Forest Fire excel and the tracks never fail to captivate in the first few moments; each distinct and alluring in their own way, with a variety of instrumentals. There are a range of disparate styles on this album, but it does grow on you and it will be interesting to see what direction Forest Fire take next.

Bryony Byrne