Reunions seem all the rage this year, with bands like The Early November and Yellowcard jumping back into the spotlight. When Further Seems Forever announced that Chris Carrabba (Dashboard Confessional) was returning to the band my excitement hit its peak. Having parted ways after their debut eleven years ago, both sides have had time to grow and expand their styles, Chris with Dashboard Confessional and the rest of FSF with a revolving cast of vocalists. With their latest release, Penny Black, FSF find themselves older and wiser, and the result is their best work to date.
The album starts off with the first single, "So Cold", and does not relent from there. This is a song I could easily hear on the radio, and must be a real treat live. Chris's vocals have gone to a whole new level. On "The Moon is Down" his innocence was quite pronounced, but added charm. With Penny Black his range has gone so beyond what we have learned to expect and then some. The title track is another must hear jam. You still get everything you would expect from FSF, but with a more controlled and thought out scheme. This is one of those albums that will have you singing along in no time.
It should be stated, I grew up with Dashboard Confessional and my bias towards The Moon Is Down is strong, but even with no prior knowledge of those acts Penny Black is still an amazing effort. The new maturity of the band mixed with the pop chops of Carrabba make for an album that I would easily place in the top five of this year. With solid tracks and soaring vocals, this is an album that will keep you coming back for more.