Further Seems Forever have released their long awaited new album with Chris Carrabba back on vocals titled “Penny Black”, through Rise Records. Order here. If you enjoyed any of their prior material, this album is going to blow you away. Simply put, “Penny Black” is my favorite Further Seems Forever release, ever.
By the time Florida rock band Further Seems Forever released its much-lauded debut album, The Moon Is Down, in 2001, its formative singer, Chris Carrabba, had already exited the group. Carrabba, who had joined the band shortly after its formation in 1998, appeared on their 1999 debut EP, From The 27th State, and spent the next few years on the road. But after collectively penning the tracks that would appear on The Moon Is Down, the band suffered a falling out. Carrabba agreed to record the disc, but would leave once it was finished. The following years yielded two more singers, two further albums, 2003’s How To Start a Fire and 2004’s Hide Nothing, and numerous lineup changes, and by 2005 Further Seems Forever had announced its hiatus.
But no one likes a story that just abruptly ends. We want tales that comes full circle, bringing the musicians we admire back to where they began. So when Further Seems Forever’s original lineup reunited for an appearance at the Skate and Surf festival in 2005 (where a mini riot ensued when eager fans couldn’t get in), hope for something more glimmered. And, after friendly reconciliations and some casual music sessions, Further Seems Forever’s original lineup announced its official reunion in the spring of 2010.
“I think time heals all wounds,” Carrabba says. “I think this is a really creative combination of people and a really combative combination of people. But because we’ve grown up we’ve learned to deal with our collective combative nature without sacrificing our creative connection. I think this happening so organically. Getting to play music together again feels like being a band for the first time. My bandmates had decided they were never going to play music again. That is how significant it is.”
So, nearly 12 years later, Further Seems Forever will release a follow-up to The Moon Is Down. Carrabba, who has put his solo project Dashboard Confessional temporarily on hold to pursue this reunion, co-produced the disc with Jonathan Clark and Mike Fanuell in his own studio in South Florida. The group spent over two years consistently penning and laying down the tracks, mostly on the weekends. The question on everyone’s mind was: How could the band effectively translate the youthful energy of their into numbers that reflected the passage of years and the accumulation of experience?
“I think it has a broadened viewpoint of the world,” Carrabba says of the album, titled Penny Black. “We had to figure out how to take that punk rock aesthetic that had inspired the band in the beginning and grow it up. That was something we hoped to do, find a way to grow up the music without leaving behind the urgency and importance of the music.”
Penny Black, which comes out in October via Rise Records, both mirrors and expands upon Further Seems Forever’s early aesthetic, collecting 11 rock songs that resonate deeply with the listener. “So Cold,” a propulsive rocker, imports the band’s live energy. “There’s this palpable feeling that we’re playing instruments and in that moment we can’t believe we get to do this,” Carrabba notes. “It exemplifies just how excited we are to be playing together.” The melodic layers of “On the Outside,” a track Carrabba says “somehow relates to the songs on The Moon Is Down,” brings in heavier tones while acoustic ballad “Janie” takes the group into novel territory.
“I think we took some big step forward to do things that we would have never allowed ourselves to do at all,” Carrabba says of the latter. “In the past we wouldn’t allow ourselves to do a song like that. And at some point in this album we thought, ‘This could certainly be the last record we ever make and that’s a beautiful song and we’re in charge so we get to put it on there.’”
With the release of this album Further Seems Forever finally comes full circle, bringing the story back around to the beginning. Although they can’t predict the future, particularly when it comes to these five musicians, the aim is to continue the band beyond the album and the tours that will support it. Penny Black not only marks a return to form for a group that has been so beloved over the years, but also yields the opportunity to conclude one chapter and open the next.
“I think I speak for the band as a whole: It’s closure on a long, convoluted history,” Carrabba says. “From the first record to this record, which, for some of us, is our second album with Further Seems Forever. It’s great to finally get a chance to follow up what we did with the five of us together.”
Joshua Colbert- Guitar
Chad Neptune – Bass
Chis Carrabba – Vocals
Steve Kleisath – Drums
Nick Dominguez – Guitar