Album Review: Forest Kids – Storefront

Artist: Forest Kids
Album: Storefront
Released: December 15, 2017
Genre: Electronic

The latest electronic offering from Forest Kids is an invitation for a psychedelic trip that you shouldn’t refuse. The new album from Paul Marchesani, AKA Forest Kids, sees the Philadelphia artist compose an impressive tapestry of sound that covers numerous genres in under 14 minutes.

Hands down, my favorite aspect of “Storefront” is the flow. With so many artists focusing on creating singles, it’s refreshing when a musician is committed to creating a concept album. Although it can be a bit more difficult to label an EP as such when there aren’t understandable lyrics, Forest Kids is able to convey that “Storefront” is certainly one cohesive piece of music. Paul achieves this in numerous ways, but most strikingly by the reverse effect he uses for the vocals on “Highrem” and “Cold Vacation.” This same effect is also used on another instrument, possibly a guitar, on “Invite.

In addition to serving as the connecting fiber for the album, the reversed sounds that Forest Kid revels in also serves to make the familiar alien. Upon first listen, one would assume that the vocals on “Highrem” were recorded somewhere far away in a foreign language, whereas they’re actually a recording from the Mother Bethal Church with a choir singing “Lord, you are mighty.” Despite the sound being reproduced so differently from how it was originally recorded, there’s still a sense of spirituality on the track.

This album feels like positive step for Forest Kids. Compared to his last album, “I’ll Be Over,” released in October 2017, Paul seems to feel more comfortable letting his songs drift away from the drum beats, and the less rigid focus on instrumentation lets his music come off as ambient clouds that the listener can joyfully pass through. It also creates a great source of tension when the drums become the focus again, as seen on my favorite track, “Crossing Bridges.” After a minute of spacey atmosphere, the listener is engulfed with drums that could have come from a Nine Inch Nails album, and a keyboard riff that John Carpenter would be proud of.

Between the release of Forest Kids latest EP, and “Emma’s Home !!” from Melancolyfox, an album that Paul mastered, there’s a lot of great, new material for fans of the ambient electronic genre to enjoy. Hopefully 2018 will bring more gems from the Philadelphia music scene, and I, for one, am hoping for a David Byrne and Brian Eno-type collaboration from Melancolyfox and Forest Kids.

Track Listing:
Cold Vacation
Silent Home
Crossing Bridges
Fire Escape View

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