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Monday, March 25, 2013

Further Seems Forever -- How to Start a Fire

 photo 220px-Further_Seems_Forever_-_How_to_Start_a_Fire_cover_zps92d2ed45.jpg

Further Seems Forever's second album, How to Start a Fire, certainly starts strong. New vocalist, Jason Gleason, injects grit into the opening line, "Let's set this city ablaze" on the album's opening title track. This is a manly step up from the whinier previous vocalist, Chris Carrabba, though Gleason sometimes has to near scream to hit the high notes Carrabba smoothly sang. With all that said, Gleason is just as over-dramatic as Carrabba was. They both sing every line like someone is pointing a gun at them and screaming, "MORE PASSION!
Throughout the rest of How to Start a Fire, the band still rock, but there is unfortunately a little less skip in Steve Kleisath's drumming. He doesn't drum-roll through every song like he did on The Moon Is Down. Maybe he was experimenting with restraint, but when you are your band's strongest asset, you probably shouldn't do that. That isn't what weakens How to Start a Fire below The Moon is Down status, though. What weakens How to Start a Fire is the band settling into this thing around the halfway point where too many of the songs start off quietly or sappy, then build to a quick denouement. I don't know if this is because of the band's change in second guitarist, or what. Gleason's dewey-eyed, lovey-lyrics in some of these songs do nothing to abrogate the problem (though at least the girl he's singing them to is pretty cool), and he somehow eclipses the lyrical cheese factor of his predecessor.How to Start a Fire feels a little less because of these two factors, and the fact that the closing track is little more than Gleason singing over light strumming giving way to distortion adds to the short-changed feeling--in other words, this album flies by, but in a bad way. You don't completely feel like you are getting your money's work. Still, there are plenty of strong songs to make this recommendable, despite its flaws.
To close on a positive note, How to Start a Fire reminds me of my DJ'ing glory days, receiving albums weeks before they came out, and generally feeling awesome.

As with all Further Seems Forever albums, it would have been interesting to see what the vocalist could have done if he had stayed for another LP.

2003 Tooth & Nail Records
1. How to Start a Fire 2:51
2. The Sound 3:41
3. A Blank Page Empire 4:09
4. Against My Better Judgement 3:41
5. I Am 3:24
6. Pride War 3:04
7. On Legendary 3:40
8. Insincerity as an Artform 3:44
9. The Deep 3:46
10. Aurora Borealis (In Long Form 4:50

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