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Album Review: Forever Unclean! – “Woof”


Objectively, Woof is a pretty dope cd. Tho, it’s hard to not have personal biases, right? When I first listened to this cd, I was like: “I dunno…the vocals are kinda…well…” The singer doesn’t really hold back. Musically, it’s in that Flatliners and Against Me vein…and it’s definitely contained within that locus…how do I put this?…Forever Unclean fits into that genre. If you are enthralled with that subcategory of Punk, you’ll probably like them. If you hate it cuz it’s mostly derivate garbage, you might like Forever Unclean because they aren’t from the USA. I’m not saying that all nationalism is toxic. It just seems that American bands take potential and wash it down the fame drain and bands from other countries tend to not have that option because their countries don’t treat famous people like infallible gods.

These dudes are from Denmark…and ever since I read The Nordic Theory of Everything by Anu Partanen, I’ve had a greater respect for anything Nordic. Forever Unclean seems to have a lot of potential and as much as I don’t like trusting my intuition (because Punk has crapped all over hope for so long), I wanna allow myself to dig them. The singing has grown on me, a bit. Woof sounds like it was recorded in a studio but the engineer didn’t really know what to do except point mics and hit record. 311’s Music sounds this way. Like it was half-assed cuz they really didn’t know what to do with it…and they hoped that half-assing it would allow it to be everything it is, not what it is in the mind of idealistic musicians. (Take it as a compliment.)  Nothing is really obfuscated or aggrandized and it’s not burdened by clarity. I checked out some of their old stuff and Woof sounds like a logical progression. Everything is tighter, it sounds better, the songwriting is maturing.

But yeah, it’s definitely subgenre-specific. It’s obvious they pay attention to how other bands write their songs and kinda take more than bit of inspiration from them. They definitely seem to have their own ideas on music, but aren’t really doing anything outta left field, so to speak. Like I said, the vocals take some getting used to. They’re kinda wacky and high pitched…initially they brought to mind Boy Hits Car, Billy Talent, and even Coheed and Cambria…but it’s not all high singing. He does a lot of the growl/half-scream-yell/ooah-aaaooo stuff that seems to be popular these days in certain circles.

Anything I can really say about what didn’t tickle my fancy, so to speak, is most-likely obvious to Forever Unclean. Fitting into a genre isn’t a sin. Singing somewhat like other people isn’t terrible…especially if you sing on key. Lyrically, it hit home with me…we deal with similar crap…humans do. They aren’t loquacious, but pithiness is good. Woof seems like the cd you could blare outside while weeding the yard or having a bbq and it would aggravate your neighbors. “Confounding delinquents!” It’s melodic, but wacky….aggressive but not aggressive enough to really make your douchey neighbors ask you to turn it down or call the cops on ya.

So I suppose I like Woof…I guess I like Forever Unclean. Apparently, they spell their name with an exclamation point at the end. So it’s Forever Unclean! Currently, it’s 7:36am, so I’m not ready for an exclamation point.

[Later on]
It’s now 3:54pm. I was thinking about Woof as I was mowing the lawn and I thought about Forever Unclean! as a subgenre-specific band…and how it seems like bands leave the fan empty when they land a decent deal and start touring and end up changing their style cuz they get old, have kids, or lose that angst cuz they fulfilled their purpose by getting on a label…that kind of shit leaves us fans almost on the rebound. Like when we get broken up with and wind up dating someone just like our ex. (Phenomena, am I right?) Anyway, I wonder if Forever Unclean! simply fills a hole gouged out of me by those bands similar to them that totally crapped the bed. Is it bad to be the rebound? Surely, many people have met their eventual spouses on a mere rebound. Many children were born because of rebounding. Then again, lots of times that rebound just serves as a reminder of loss. It’s not uncommon to hear of an emotional connection to music. What is a relationship if not guided by emotions? Hmph. Heck, it seems lots of genre-specific bands just serve to pick up the slack cuz bands get big and do things we just don’t expect. I mean: Brand New did it…and there are bands that sound just like their earlier works…and only their earlier works. ALSO, when bands start out, lots of the time they’re just kinda doing whatever until they find their sound. So like: I guess all that really matters is any given cd. Not a discography. Not a genre. Just a single collection of songs…as a snapshot of a time in history. Sure, that gives way to a lot of philosophical uncertainty…uncertainty that many may not even pick up on…but like: If you, a punker, were stuck listening to Forever Unclean!’s Woof, you’d hate it way less than getting stuck listening to Pop garbage. For that moment, you’d feel okay knowing that it could be a lot worse. Even if that sentiment is ubiquitous these days and it seems to sit on chests and eat away at civility like a cancer…well, I dunno…perhaps the optimists are right. Everything is 100% awesome.

Personally, I’d give this cd a 3.4 out of 5. Not a 68%, mind you…cuz that’s almost failing by Melvindale standards. I figure 3 is in the center of 5. [1,2,3,4,5]  Three is the center number. It means neutral. Anything larger than 3 is enough to make me smile. And, like you, I hate music with a passion…because I love music with a passion. (Crap, I’m ranting.) Just listen to the cd and decide for yourself. All you can really gain from any sort of review is if someone hated it or not. I hate Woof very little. It ended better than Alkaline Trio’s My Shame is True.

3.5/5 Stars



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