by Dan Verner – Contributor
I’m always appreciative of bands and artists that are unashamed of their pop sensibilities, and in that department Bethany indie pop group The Foresters deliver. House Stories is The Foresters second release following Sun Songs and it greatly benefits from a cohesive recording process, as their former album was recorded from multiple studios. The sound is certainly more focused and the songs reflect that. Said songs swing from the manic kinetic energy of “Letterbox” to the halcyonic Kinks-esque psychedelic garage of “Misterman” and “Honk if You Feel Fine” while still maintaining excellent coherence. Instead of the sound controlling the songs, the songs inform their sound… As it should be.
The Foresters have the feel of a family band, which makes sense as three of the four members are brothers. There is an inherent respect for each other within The Foresters performance, each instrument meshes well and the songwriting is brought front and center. My only real complaint is that the sequencing could have been given more thought. “Letterbox” and “Misterman” are back to back and start off the same way, while “Isolate Yourself” is in my humble opinion a more proper closing track than “Kiki and Bouba.”
Overall that’s a middling concern. Each song has an individual feel, and there is not a weak one to be found on House Stories. The Foresters do a masterful job of avoiding predictable formulas where they can, and being confident enough to not obfuscate accessibility with needless wankery or experimentation. Tasteful arrangements abound. I love the piano throughout, the harmonies provide much needed depth, and I want to shake the hand of whoever brought in accordion to “A Winter Plea.”
This is an album any and all music lovers should acquire, it truly has a timeless feel and the mark of a band that knows what they want to do, and sets out unapologetically confident in their abilities.