Album Review
Further Seems Forever - Penny Black Album Cover

Further Seems Forever - Penny Black

Reviewed by
Further Seems ForeverPenny Black
Record Label: Rise Records
Release Date: October 23, 2012
My all-time favorite album is one from Further Seems Forever. So when I heard Further Seems Forever was getting back together I got very excited. Now my favorite album is actually How to Start a Fire which featured Jason Gleason on vocals, so when I discovered that it was actually the Chris Carraba fronted version of Further Seems Forever reuniting my excitement died down a little bit. However The Moon is Down (the album recorded with Carraba on vocals during his first tour of duty in the band) is an album I also love so I was still pretty pumped to hear what their latest effort Penny Black would sound like. I am happy to report that even though these guys haven’t released any new music with each other in 11 years that they still know what they are doing, and haven’t forgotten how to put together a great record.

I wouldn’t label Penny Black as a direct sequel to The Moon is Down. I mean you can tell it is the same band at work, there is definite growth and change on display. I don’t think there is any one specific thing that can be highlighted as the source of this change, but rather a combination of factors.

One important difference is that the production quality is just so superior, which just makes all the instrumentation come alive and sound so much better. While other Further Seems Forever albums have been labeled as emo or indie (rightly or wrongly, I don’t really know my genre labels that well) I think it is very easy to label as a straight up rock record. There are very few quiet or slow moments/songs on this album. Almost from start to finish it is an up-tempo rock record. The songs also seem to be more chorus based, with songs seemingly formed around their choruses, and choruses that are very easy to remember and very easy to sting along with. I would also say that the lyrics have improved, in the sense that they seem to flow together with the music so perfectly.

The first glimpse we heard from Penny Black happens to also be the first track, “So Cold.” It makes pretty good sense to have this as the first single since it is pretty indicative of what the rest of the album sounds like. It has a driving beat to it that builds up a chorus that is very easy to scream along to, which describes many of the tracks on the album. I will admit that I have no idea what the lyrics of this song are about, but I didn’t let that hamper my enjoyment of it.

My favorite song off of Penny Black is without a doubt “Staring at the Sun.” There is just something so damn catchy about it that I began to constantly hum it to myself after hearing it a few times. I also love the lyrics of the chorus, “My wheels spin/Till I'm spun out/I'm staring down the sun till I'm stared out/When all I ever really wanted was/Your love.” Hands down my favorite lyrics from the album.

While I don’t love every song on the album, out of the 12 tracks on Penny Black there are only 2 that I dislike. “A System the Symmetry” I would say that I actually hate, and that is due to how repetitive it is. Carrabba just simply repeats “a system of symmetry” too many times for my tastes. Taking into account how seemingly uninspired the lyrics are, and the fact that it is only 2:38 long it really makes me wonder why it was even included on the album. “Janie” was just too slow and quiet for my tastes, especially when compared to the rest of the album. It really reminds me of a quiet Dashboard Confessional song. It’s not necessarily a bad song, I just don’t care for it that much. I think one criticism that some may level against this album is that many of the songs sound the same. I would agree that many of the songs sound similar, but I wouldn’t really consider that to be a negative. I just think that is what the band sounds like, and since I like it, it’s not a problem in my eyes.

I think Penny Black could please a lot of different listeners. If you like any iteration of Further Seems Forever you owe it to yourself to listen to the “old” line up playing new music. The scene can sometimes get bogged down in gimmicky bands so if you want a rather gimmick free rock record, this would be a good place to start. Almost all of the tracks on Penny Black are tight and driving from the first note to the last with memorable choruses and verses around every corner.

www.facebook.com/FurtherSeemsForever - https://twitter.com/fsfofficial

Official video for "So Cold"
This review is a user submitted review from billcom6. You can see all of billcom6's submitted reviews here.
Displaying posts 1 - 11 of 11
03:13 PM on 11/15/12
Zac Djamoos
no shade in the shadow of the cross
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Zac Djamoos's Avatar
I agree with this review way more than the other. Good job. But Janie's the best song on here.
10:38 AM on 11/17/12
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warriorsam's Avatar
I'm surprised you rated the production so high. Most people seem to be in agreement that the production on this album is "tinny" and (putting it gently) could have been better. Production-wise, I find their other albums much more listenable.
12:18 PM on 11/17/12
AP Addict
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I'm surprised you rated the production so high. Most people seem to be in agreement that the production on this album is "tinny" and (putting it gently) could have been better. Production-wise, I find their other albums much more listenable.
I will be the first to admit that I am not really an audiophile or know a lot about production so maybe the complaints other people have had are warranted, I don't really know.
Why I rated production so high was because I listened to this after re-listening to The Moon is Down (maybe I shouldn't have done that, I don't know) and the production on The Moon is Down just makes everything seems reather dull. With Penny Black I felt that it just had such a fuller sound, which I appreciated a lot, so I gave it a good production score.
05:18 PM on 11/17/12
Registered User
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xburningcoffin's Avatar
I would say that "So Cold" stands out as one of the most different songs compared to the rest of the record, almost out of place....I really enjoy the record for its changes from their past sounds. "Rescue Trained" is the standout for me, at first I hated the auto-tune but it eventually grew on me, I feel like ur review could have touched on that aspect as well as the way Chris' voice has a scruffiness to it which is a massive change too! Thanks for reviewing this, no one else seems to think it is worth reviewing but I sure do!
02:00 AM on 11/18/12
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Robb's Avatar
I really didn't like System of Symmetry the first few listens. The more I listened, the more it grew on me. It feels too light as a full song, but feels like a nice interlude.

I think Rescue Trained will stay my favorite. I don't like the autotuning, especially for a voice like Chris's, but that chorus... so good. I wish Chris was mixed a bit higher, especially in the chorus, but I kind of like that "fighting to be heard above the music" the vocals have there.

"Hold the freaking camera sideways" aside, this performance of it sounds incredible. He kills the chorus, and that high note in "winless war" is great.

10:06 AM on 11/18/12
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TylerHartman's Avatar
I really enjoy the album. Reminds me of 2003...and that's always a good thing. That "tinny" sound, however, feels ever-so-present to me.
11:41 PM on 11/18/12
lloyd boners
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JayDanielHammer's Avatar
that single is just not good. Cheese.
01:03 AM on 11/19/12
Long Gone Before Daylight
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abusedcat's Avatar
These songs are amazing live. "Janie" live, full-band is beautiful.
09:54 AM on 11/19/12
lordsaveusfromourscene.co m
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kittypants's Avatar
The production is awful. Otherwise, fantastic album. Putting it in my top 5 AOTY
05:41 PM on 11/28/12
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denniseckersley's Avatar
Chris' chords are so screwed after this main tour.

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