Thursday, January 22, 2015

FORTH: ”Road Stories”

Rating: RRR

Label: Forth Productions 2014
Review by Kimmo Toivonen

Forth is a new Finnish band who describe their music as a cross between Bon Jovi and Pearl Jam. They’re led by Brian Forth, an Canadian singer, so this is one Finnish band that doesn’t have to worry about pronunciation or Finglish lyrics. Mr. Forth has a really likeable voice too - he reminds me of a smoother Chris Cornell.

I’m not so sure about the ”Pearl Jovi” comparison. I don’t hear much Jovi in these songs, but then again, the songs are considerably more happier than the usual grunge stuff. The Pearl Jam/Soundgarden influences are certainly there, but I also hear a bit of a Butch Walker vibe…

The production is excellent, smooth yet powerful. The band sounds like they’re ready for extensive airplay and arena tours. All they need is a couple of sure-fire hits. As good as many of these songs are, none of them hooked me instantly or even after a few additional plays. They’re enjoyable to listen to, well-written and constructed, but damn it, that extra drop of magic is missing. Still, you should check them out especially if you’re more partial to the rock of the nineties than I am.

A few songs I want to mention: the opening tracks ”You Get What You Deserve” and ”Up Up Away” are both good pop/rockers with solid hooks. ”Come Home To Me” is probably the most Bon Jovi-like track, comparable to their recent output. ”Fairytale Princess” is a curious one: it’s a cover of a song originally recorded by TikTak, an all-girl pop group who were massive here a few years ago. I’ve heard the original quite often on the radio, but didn’t realize this was the same song! Only after looking at the credits I figured out why it sounded a bit familiar. While the original is a balladic one, Forth have shaken it up and give it a kind of a pop-punk treatment.

There’s a lot of good things going on here. If the band progresses nicely, by the time they release their third album they could very well be filling the kind of arenas that Sunrise Avenue have been filling in central Europe for the last few years.

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