Monday, July 12, 2010

New Future of Forestry

Usually when I sit down to write a review of something I use the same process. I start by listening to the record once or twice before starting to formulate ideas about angles I will write on. Then I start to research the band looking for information about history and influences. So when I started looking into FUTURE OF FORESTRY I was suprised to see that they are listed as "Christian Rock". Why did this suprise me? Because often bands will shy away from this moniker for fear that it will lessen their ability to be marketed to the mainstream. In fact, lead singer Eric Owyoung said as much in a 2007 interview. But does this change the way I relate to the record?

Musically the album has a lot of similarities to RADIOHEAD and their offspring. It's actually a pretty good record. But does the band's openness about their desire to not only play music but to preach to the unconverted change my feelings about what they play? Now I'm not trying to challenge anyone's faith (far be it for me to delve into any level of spiritual discourse on such a trivial thing as a blog. In fact, I am trying to purposely keep my own spiritual affiliation vague for that reason) and after all, didn't U2 start out with the same mission? Have they and other artists used music as an exploration of faith and devotion to a higher being or purpose? Why is that we only classify Christian rock and not Buddhist or Muslim rock? Ultimately, if the music is good and the songs have depth and passion and conviction in their message that should be enough. So as I type now with the knowledge that Future of Forestry sees itself as both a religiously convicted band as well as a band with a desire to be heard by a greater audience I don't feel as limited in my thinking. Before I might have dismissed the record as something that is "not for me" but I still listen to the songs and the music and fall in love with the melodies and the guitar work.

Music is about moving people to places of deep emotion, whether be in the service of love or pain or sadness. A band's personal beliefs, or their stated mission to share those beliefs with others, does not interfere with that pursuit. Just trust me and listen to the songs. They are really good and deserve to be heard...

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