Forget Cassettes - Salt
Label: Theory 8 Records
Release Date: August 8th, 2006
The Nashville, Tennessee based Forget Cassettes first formed as a duo in 2002 with Beth Cameron wielding the guitar and handling vocal duties while Doni Schroader sat behind the drum kit. Although this description reeks off “White Stripes knockoff”, the band instead embraced complex song structures reminiscent of bands like Karate and Q and Not U with vocal stylings their label have compared to “PJ Harvey and Sleater Kinney”. The band hit the ground running with their 2003 debut release, Instruments of Action, reaching #60 on the CMJ Top 200 in four weeks, opening on 30 dates for ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead, and being invited to play numerous showcases and festivals. However, that tour with ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead marked the beginning of a new era of Forget Cassettes. Doni Schroader resigned from the band to join them full time on tour, which led Cameron to add new members Aaron Ford (drums) and multi-instrumentalist Jay Leo Phillips to the band.
As a duo on Instruments of Action, Forget Cassettes were able to construct songs with an unorthodox structure and still make an emotional impact rivaling bands twice their size, but expanding to a trio took the band to a higher level by allowing them to expand on the foundations laid by the aforementioned album. Forget Cassettes is a hard band to pigeonhole considering the fact they cross the lines between quiet, introspective melodicism and loud rock bombasts at will. This trait is exemplified right off the bat with the Salt's leadoff track, “Venison”, which also offers the first taste of Cameron’s unique vocals and cryptic lyrical style. “Quiero, Quieres” finds the band sticking mostly with the rock side of their multi-faceted persona, and even finds Cameron offering up occasional screams and yelps, which has drawn many Karen O comparisons. “The Catch” is filled with quiet, melodic guitar riffs, but occasionally shifts gears into an angular leaning sound, which makes it one of the more satisfying songs on the album.
“My Maraschino” is a mesmerizing song featuring innovative drumming courtesy of Aaron Ford with perfectly placed Rhodes melodies provided by Phillips . Cameron’s voice is sultry and commanding all at once, effectively capturing the listener’s attention. Some of the guitar work on this track brings to mind older Cursive, which serves as another plus in my book. Once again, the band pulls a musical about face, shedding the mellow build-ups dominating the earlier moments in the track for a loud, forceful rock sound. “Salt And Syncope” is a dark and driving song about a lost love, but for those of you who are like me and are sick of the whining factor associated with most songs like this, you will be more than pleased with the approach taken by Forget Cassettes on this track. Dark, loud, and angry, this track is a surefire winner that shows you do not need to whine incessantly to convey heartbreak and hopelessness. Salt closes with “Tabula Rasa” finds the band at their most reserved and most innovative, featuring spectacular drumming by Ford and well placed brass arrangements by Phillips. This track is the perfect closer to an all around solid sophomore effort, proving that not all bands are victims of the “Sophomore Slump”.
It is refreshing to discover a band like Forget Cassettes, because they favor complex arrangements and experimentation yet they are able to pull their abstract approach into cohesive songs that are both memorable and enjoyable. Forget Cassettes may not be on your radar now, but chances are, they will be soon.