500 Words or Less Reviews: “Awakened To the Sound” by Future of Forestry
This “review” will most likely be a mess of rambling, effusive praise. There will probably be gushing. So much gushing. Consider yourself warned.
I’ve been a big fan of Future of Forestry – Eric Owyoung’s brainchild band – for a long time. In fact, I have been a fan of his music since he was playing under the band name, Something Like Silas. Owyoung has always pushed the boundaries of creativity for Christian music. So much so that his music has very little chance of getting any radio play on most CCM stations. Their loss. Future of Forestry has released multiple full-length albums and a handful of shorter EP’s throughout their existence. No album has sounded like the album that preceded it, though they all retain a core consistency. Owyoung writes emotionally engaging music. It might be dressed up as more straightforward rock, as in their debut album Twilight, or it could be more stripped down intimate as one can hear in their recent album Pages. With the release of Awakened To the Sound, Owyoung and Future of Forestry once again break new ground.
Awakened To the Sound is cinematic in scope and breathtaking in execution. I realize that smacks of hyperbole, but it’s not. The album sounds like it could be the soundtrack of the biggest blockbuster film playing in any theater today. In fact, it sounds better than all but the best film scores. Owyoung is a classically trained composer, and his skill and talent is on full display throughout the album. Take a look at any individual element – the string arrangement for example – and you have a profound musical statement. You add the elements together and you get something so much bigger and bolder. I don’t know of any other band in the world that could have pulled this off. I don’t know of any other band in the world that would have the guts to even try. It’s mesmerizing. Transcendent. I don’t lightly throw out words like that. I cannot get over how hard this album hit me. It’s beautiful and intricate. It’s emotional and inspiring. There is nothing else like it out there.
Now, let’s try to balance things a bit. I am the perfect audience for this album. I have cried and smiled, pumped my fist and bowed my head. They might as well have plugged into my brain and discovered exactly what I love. It seems so specifically created for my tastes that I wonder if they have been spying on me. Knowing that is impossible, I hope that many others will respond to it like I have. If you enjoy your music to be grand and expansive, combining film score bravado, pop rock sensibility, synth and piano backbone, impossibly detailed arrangements, and spiritually resonant themes like God’s tender providence and earth-shattering grace, then look no further.
Stand outs: “On Giant’s Shoulder”, “Covers You”, “Homeward”, “Horses”, and “You Are Love”
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By the way, this is available on Spotify for those that would like to give it a listen. But, if you like what you hear, please support the band by buying the album. Bands like this deserve it.
The band has released an instrumental version of this album as well. It’s available on Spotify. In some ways, it’s even better than the original version. In other ways, I miss the vocals. But it is really cool to listen to these songs, these arrangements, with just the music. It’s really beautiful stuff.