Have you ever stepped into a room that you have never been in before and yet you feel welcomed, at home and comfortable? The Forecast, whose last album Late Night Conversations barely made a blip on the radar (the album sold 15,000 copies), have crafted a sophomore release that is sure to put them on the charts with In the Shadow of Two Gunmen, an album that is rooted in classic rock and personifies both indie-rock and alt-country. Victory Records set up the Midwest foursome with producer John Naclerio (who also brought some southern comfort to the album, playing harmonica on the record), churned through acidic guitars, crashing drums and indelible cached vocals. Naclerio’s help gave The Forecast the environment they needed to put out a tribute worthy of profitable recognition from fans.
If I have ever seen a geographical influence on an album, it’s on this one. The Forecast—Matt Webb (guitars/vocals), Tony Peck (drums), Dustin Addis (vocals/guitar) and Shannon Burns (vocals/bass)—delegate their sound to arrest the Midwest a hell of a lot better than the pop-punk/pop-rock that is springing from Chicago and St. Louis.
Beginning with a significantly upbeat and optimistic is the track, “Everything We Want To Be” doesn’t rely on a hook or catchy chorus but rather on roaring guitar solos. Next, follows my personal favorite and the song that the band chose to make their first video for. “And We Will All Return To Our Roots” is the standout song on Two Gunmen where Shannon stiffly sets the anthem off singing: “All I want is a little place of my own where I can rest my head.” The familial sound resonates through in and throughout the entire album with twangs of hope and comfort. The title track is a haunting foreboding that separates the first and second halves of the record with a stringy and ominous guitar interlude. Only to follow are the two strongest classic rock songs on Two Gunmen:“A Fist Fight For Our Fathers” and “Every Gun Makes Its Own Tomb.” Like two sides of a coin, “West Coast” and “You’re My Needle” are the humble pining to contrition. The final track, “Welcome Home,” closes the album amazingly with subdued vocals from Matt punctuated by stammering drumwork and spoken word from Ladd Mitchell (lead singer/guitarist of Park), Mark Thomas Kluepfel (frontman of Action Action) and Logan Laflotte (lead singer of Paulson). All in all, this song gives a peak into the hardships of touring and the criticism of their art.
The lack of perfect melodies, intuitive lyrical content and ground-breaking instrumental work is no grounds to underestimate their authentic Midwestern post-rock. Operating under the pretenses of minimalism and relaxed temper, the Peoria, Illinois bad have made a monument and allegiance. In The Shadow of Two Gunmen is by far my favorite album to listen to this year.