Forth Wanders are a New Jersey outfit. The core of their sound builds around the songwriting partnership of guitarist Ben Guterl and vocalist Ave Trilling. Their self-titled second arrives as a record driven by rawness, vocal honesty and lurching catharsis.
From the heart ached opening notes of ‘Nevermine’ the group’s second long-player spills with intimate truths. ‘Company’ lightens the tone, but it’s just as devastating. Interpreting Guterl’s melodies Trilling’s lyrics sit firmly enshrined within an intimate own headspace. Moments of all-consuming emotion which shut out the external world. Even at its brightest this narrative still falls prey to tendrils of doubt.
But this band’s strength is that for all the gloom they’re not slipping into emotive or gothic trope. Lyrical malaise is tempered if not amplified by hard rockin’ grit and pure shots of instrumental excitement. Expressive guitar play provides a constant melodic counterpoint.
At the heart of the album sits recurrent themes of bedroom melodrama. It could be the crushing ambiguity of leaving without saying more or a moment of warmth followed by bitter cold. It’s these emotional juxtapositions that make ‘Not For Me’ such a potent leading single.
Music is shared experience and we all crave a narcotic downer. Artists as figures acting out the emotional pits of our own lows, sifting through the darker corners of our collective mind to connect. After which the bleakness isn’t so isolating.
Even within the closing uplift of ‘Temporary’, this New Jersey outfit’s reality is stark. Yet it’s also affecting. A combustion of honest lyrics, guitars that talk and a rhythmic momentum which bashes everything into place.
Forth Wanderers’ second places a dark drift on romance but perhaps it’s simply casting light over truths that were always there. So much of music explores giddy peaks and bright-line emotions. Forth Wanderers slips between troughs and uncertainties. Longing - whether for love, something better or simply just to be removed from the whole tangled situation -it’s here you find them, a group entirely in command of their element.
Words by Riley Fitzgerald