Forest Fire Staring At the X

Forest FireStaring At the X
Those fortunate enough to stumble upon the first Forest Fire album back in 2008 were rewarded with a great collection of songs that blended woozy guitars with some surprisingly folkier elements. Jump three years forward and not much has actually changed for the NYC band. Staring At the X is definitely cut from the same cloth as its predecessor, but even more so. Everything has been ramped up, making for an even more satisfying record. The more obvious influences read like a near-perfect list of cool bands for anybody to have in their record collection ― the Velvet Underground, David Bowie, Suicide and Ultra Vivid Scene ― and the mix of distortion-laden, brooding tracks and quieter, contemplative numbers results in a very balanced album. When they take their time on a song, it pays dividends ― both the buzzing disco of "They Pray Execution Style" and the Walkmen-like "Visions in Plastic" stand out, but there's very little to complain about. This is hardly revolutionary, but it's remarkably enjoyable. (Fat Cat)