Updated: Aug 31, 2022
Hail the future of hook filled guitar noise.
Album: Who Will Forgive All My Sins
Band: Future West
Released: August 19 2022
The front man of Dundalk-based four piece Future West, Francis Watters, recently posted on social media to thank Blowtorch Records for putting out their new LP Who Will Forgive All My Sins.
I bring this up not out of hubris, but because he also added that without this help the songs probably would have just remained on a hard drive. Although they would, in Alt J’s words, have been Hard Drive Gold, it seems incredible that a set of songs this good might not see the light of day and reach listeners' ears.
I suspect if you cut Francis in half he may have stick of rock type lettering around his circumference saying indie to the core. Doing things the right way is plainly important to him and yet is often incompatible with the music industry.
Maybe we were meant for each other - when he first contacted us with the finished album, he mentioned that Future West were an Indie/Alt/Lo-Fi DIY 4-piece from Dundalk, Ireland. That's like a Blowtorch Records mission statement.
We were also somewhat stunned that this treasure trove of tracks was not already released. We agreed to put out the first single (and track two on the album) Late last Nite and as our review noted at the time "from the initial, diffident 'might as well go for a take', through the cleverly placed stop/starts to that thrilling, ecstatic ending this a song going places."
Its predecessor, album opener Faded, cleverly connects us with the previous, more electronic, singles (See What I See and Emergency - both excellent) through its initial use of a drum machine before bursting into analog life with the layered guitars and vocals which adorn this album. Ok two songs in and we're coming clean - we love this album.
The intercut vocals from a cigarette ad also show preview the clever production touches which subtly lift this album into a different league from most indie landfill. Take a bow production team Pillowhead aka Pauric McCrum and Peter McCoy who also play drums and guitar in the band. John Mellon completes the line up on four string duties with his noteworthy, propulsive basslines.
I have previously compared Future West to Wakefield's finest The Cribs and for good reason. Both seem to be able to effortlessly deliver track after track full of melodic hooks which motor into your musical cortex before parking up for a blissful three minute serotonin rush.
Most bands struggle to knock out one song as good as Late Last Nite. Future West followed with second single All My Sins which might be even better. Watters declared this to be his favourite from the album although did then say that changes on a regular basis. He also told us the track "... was written from a place of dealing with self inflicted grief. It’s a piece about breaking things down, re-evaluation and learning to love one’s self despite our flaws and the mistakes we make. The sections of the track represent different stages of the emotions that these actions cause us through anger, sorrow and a glimmer of hope."
Sin was a particularly corrosive narrative in Catholic Ireland and was generally thrust upon people by egregious external forces. Despite the title of the album, it's a joy to see lyrics reflecting the realisation that forgiveness doesn't necessarily come from without - self forgiveness is equally important in our anxious age.
Self examination, remorse, guilt and redemption feature strongly in the lyrics. Watters is insistent this is not a concept "but a lot of the songs do revolve around similar themes and the track running order, coincidentally, does tell a somewhat cohesive story depending on what way you interpret the words. For me, it’s a project that I felt I had to do to help lay some of my inner demons to rest. And also with the hope that other people can listen to the music and words and realise that even at one's lowest point, things will always get better. There is always hope, no matter what.” There's that word hope again. Let me hear you say amen.
I can't go through every track - you'd simply be sick of me saying 'this song's ace as well.' Stream, download or buy (preferably on vinyl) and listen for yourself. For an album this good you would forgive any sins.
Who Will Forgive All My Sins is available digitally (along with lots of other lovely goodies) on Future West's Bandcamp page and the vinyl is in our online shop right here:
1. Faded 2. Late Last Nite 3. I Lost What's Mine 4. Give You My Time
5. The Pilot's Nightmare
Side two. 1. Joggers 2. All My Sins 3. Three Years Asleep 4. You Instead
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