Friday, May 8, 2015

The Forms -- Hi-Pointe, January 20, 2005

The Forms’ debut EP Icarus is maddeningly incredible. Right when I realized that I was listening to one of the best indie/emo records I’ve heard ever, it was over. Nineteen minutes of revelation followed by dead air. My first thought was, “Where the hell was I when this record came out?” No matter. I caught air just in time before they were here and gone.

As openers Chunnel played out their set, it was obvious from the start that these guys were good. Chunnel’s sound takes the base of Dianogah, with a little Victim’s Family and Couch Flambeau here and there. But unlike Dianogah, Chunnel spends far more time in periods of breakout guitar work, tweaking and noodling, building slowly into cohesive melodies that resolve in crescendos of hard, driving guitar. Keep an eye open for these two guys.

With a name like Camp Climax for Girls, the next band had to at least be interesting. Employing a tongue-in-cheek mix of Zeppelin and AC/DC, they succeeded massively. I know to some this sounds sacrilegious, but I’d rather see good natured indie-rock vets up there having fun than a bunch of middle-aged guys in leather jackets taking themselves too seriously. Camp Climax makes it safe to rock out and not have to shower with a bar of Lava the next morning. Opening with “Almost Died, Dead,” Camp Climax played numerous cuts off their debut Ten Dollar Birds, including “I’ve Been Meaning to Axe You,” “Elbows in the Face of Disguise,” and “Less Blues, More Depression.” In the weeks preceding the show, guitarist Billy Wallace had teased a new cover they’d be playing on STLPunk.com, writing, “We got a new cover song to drop. It’s in drop-D too, how very metal of us. Word.” The mystery cover turned out to be the Melvins’ “Revolve,” from the 1994 Stoner Witch LP.
Then came the aforementioned The Forms. Formed in Brooklyn, New York, in 2000, The Forms reminded me a great deal of Sunny Day Real Estate.

eres’ vocals have a quality similar to that of Jeremy Enigk’s, while remaining distinctly his own. His vocal style is less about specific words than creating melodies that hover and fill the air with their jaw-dropping beauty. And the fact that Teres is often unintelligible doesn’t detract from his performance. Incredible. As they played, my attention was less focused on what each member was doing physically than what was coming out of the sound system. By no means whatsoever am I implicating that The Forms put on a bad performance (they did quite the opposite), but they could not replicate onstage the quality of their recorded work. Whereas many rock bands can invigorate their tunes in a live setting by playing faster and nastier, the music of The Forms plays best in their recordings.

After a taped introduction of the “Theme From Superman,” Riddle of Steel hit the stage to close out the show, immediately launching into “Revenge of R.O.S.” Their set consisted of the classics, the Pythons, and the new. Andrew Elstner, Jimmy Vavak, and Rob Smith showed, as usual, that the band is a consistent and dependable source for a solid evening of rock. During the set, bassist Vavak announced that their long-awaited follow-up is due from Ascetic Records this May. Titled Got This Feelin’, the new release should prove quite a treat for audiophiles, as the vinyl is slated to be released a full month before the CD. Yes sir. Albinism is everywhere.

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