Further Seems Forever - How to Start a Fire
Record Label: Tooth and Nail
Release Date: February 11, 2003
Most of us know Chris Carrabba, now the lead singer of Dashboard Confessional. Say what you want about his current music, but the guy has one heck of a voice. So when he left Further Seems Forever after the release of The Moon is Down, it left the band at risk of alienating fans, and potentially, themselves. With How to Start a Fire, the band gave lead vocal duties to Jason Gleason. Additionally, they replaced their old guitarist with Derick Cordoba.
With a fresh start available to Further Seems Forever, they took full advantage and released a solid release in How to Start a Fire. The phrase "Solid Release" gets thrown around a lot, and while I'm sure every avid music fan has their own definition, I'm subjecting mine to possible scrutiny.
"Solid Release"- A well balanced record that doesn't get boring. It's nowhere near predictable, and the music accomplishes exactly what it was intended to, and doesn't try to re-write what already works, and in doing so, revives and reminds us of why what works, works.
How to Start a Fire is at times beautiful, and at others, angry. And while I can back up my words by recommending the track "Insincerity as an Artform," you'd be doing yourself a disservice by not exploring the rest of the CD. Listening to the record will make you wonder why so many bands have trouble releasing a NATURAL record. What do I mean by natural? It comes across in every single track that Further Seems Forever weren't worried about how they would be classified or scrutinized. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if many people have trouble enjoying How to Start a Fire due to so many current releases being over-produced, over-thought, and too far left or right. Anyone who wants to call this record a Rock record, too poppy, too slow, too hard, or too melodic, you're all right. And not only does the mood of this record change after each track, but it's blended and diced so well into each individual song that there's something for everyone in How to Start a Fire.
The record starts off with a track called "How to Start a Fire" which is quite possibly the most straightforward song on the record. It aggressively starts out the CD, which makes the transition to it's second track, "The Sound," that much more refreshing. "The Sound" is the most radio-ready song on the record, and its melody in the chorus will get stuck in your head for days. "Against My Better Judgment" is the record's anthem. It's hard to tell what's more fun in this track, the chorus, which makes it hard to listen to sitting down, or just the anticipation for the chorus in the bridge. "I Am" portrays the calmer side to Further Seems Forever. I'm ashamed to say I skipped this song the first few listens. And then I read the lyrics which are some of the most poetic, albeit simple, on the record:
I am the water, I am waves crashing onto you
I am the blank wave, I am the madness,
the loss, the dark, the hunt, the cage, the race
I am rejection, I am redemption
I am desire for obligation,
I am forever, I could be never if that's what you want.
I am the desert, I am oasis for strength,
the weakness for arguments sake
I am rejection, I am redemption,
I am desire for obligation.
After the pounding "Pride War," which probably saw the most light of day thanks to Atticus Volume 2, "On Legendary" is a beautiful balance of everything that this band has to offer. Between the flawless vocals and the diverse tempo changes, Further Seems Forever deliver a standout track which, amazingly, is even topped by "Insincerity as an Artform." Both tracks are very similar, combining different tempos and speeding up at the chorus. However, despite the title, the track comes across as nothing but sincere in its music and lyrics.
"The Deep" starts out a little bland despite the catchy guitar riff in the beginning. While the track as a whole is put together quite well, and the outro is the song's strongest part, it's lacking that sense of "completeness" that is attributable to the rest of the tracks.
How to Start a Fire, in my opinion, is a timeless record. Not in the sense that it will be remembered and praised forever, but it never gets old. In fact, as soon as it gets old, it gets great. After the first listen, it may even seem bland. But after each listen each track becomes more honest and new. How many bands put out records that can be relaxing and energetic within the same song?
Stream Further Seems Forever's How to Start a Fire on last.fm.