The Lonely Forest c/o readjunk.com
While driving home from work Thursday evening, I heard a new song by the band Iron & Wine on MSU’s Impact 89fm that I really liked. I thought I would give it a closer listen that evening, but never got to it. Instead, I stumbled across something even better.
When I was ramping up my MacBook, I decided to check out the headlines on NPR’s website. The npr.org site has a feature I enjoy listening to called “song of the day.” Thursday, it identified an oddly titled new track, “Turn Off This Song and Go Outside” by a band named The Lonely Forest. I had never heard of either.
The song title intrigued me enough that I decided to give it a quick listen. Damn, am I ever glad I did – it was fabulous. Then I checked out their homemade-esque music video and enjoyed it immensely – very energetic, free-wheeling, and just plain fun. I was hooked. Sorry, Iron & Wine, but you will have to wait until another day.
So, I listed to the other four tracks on The Lonely Forest’s EP that was released back in mid-September. All I can say is wow! No hemming or hawing about this one, I immediately bought the EP right then and there on iTunes.
Most EPs usually have one terrific song that has gotten the band some attention and then three or four other songs they have written that are usually nowhere near as good as the first one. Not this time: all five songs – four separate ones and an acoustic version of the single – are simply amazing.
Both the standard and acoustic versions of “Turn off This Song and Go Outside” and the introspective tune “I Don’t Want to Live There” are so good, I am not sure which of the three is my favorite. “Let it Go” is not far behind those other three tracks, while “Ramshackle House” is a fun and short interlude. The elevated guitar sound at the very end of “Ramshackle House” leads me to believe there is probably a great guitar solo incorporated into that song during live performances, even though the EP track is just under a minute long.
Not only do the songs sound fresh and energetic, but the vocals are clean and crisp, and the lyrics tremendously introspective. In “I Don’t Want to Live There,” the band has already made a bold and mature statement saying they’re not going to be taken in by the glamour, hype, and hoopla of LA or the overcautiousness of Nashville. The stunning and beautiful scenery of Anacortes is just fine by them, thank you very much. In an era of me, me, me, this attitude is as refreshing as the marvelous salty air of Washington’s coastal islands.
Equally impressive are the lyrics in “Turn Off This Song and Go Outside,” where they deride egotistical bands for being full of themselves.
“And guys in bands
With vintage shirts and hundred dollar pants
Often think we do what no one can
We see ourselves above the rest
When faced with truth
I realize there is nothing I can do
Amount of talent or gift to bring
That is greater than the orphan song she sings “
Quite frankly, if I had heard this EP before I released my favorite albums of 2010 in December, it would have been easily in the top 5, probably number four behind Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs, Cloud Cult’s Light Chasers, and Tokyo Police Club’s Champ only because it’s an EP versus a full album.
Even more exciting to me is the band’s first full-length album entitled Arrow is due to be released on March 22. Mark your calendars, folks, it should be a banner day.
Thank you NPR for having the “song of the day” feature on your website and providing the song “Turn Off this Song and Go Outside.” Thank you Anacortes, Washington, for sharing The Lonely Forest with the rest of us. And, a special thank you to the members of The Lonely Forest for writing some inspired and energetic rock ‘n’ roll music.
Listen to this EP. Buy this EP. It is incredible. And save your pennies for Arrow when it comes out in March.
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