Just a look at the extravagant titles on Forgive Durden's Wonderland, and it could be safely assumed that the band holds great confidence in their songs, enough to risk using clumsy titles on their debut CD. However, unlike many other band nowadays, Forgive Durden has a reason to be confident in their album; it's a huge cut above the rest of today's modern rock-psuedo punk. Their sound, which has been lumped into the extremely vague and largely encompassing genre of “emo” sounds like it would fit comfortably in the vein of Brand New, making not just another brick to add to the wall of up and coming pop-rock acts, but instead making music that is smart and made for the sake of itself, not for the dollar.
Throughout the album, Forgive Durden uses each instrument in their arsenal as their own self-worthy tools, respecting the roles of each. Standard guitar work is meshed with impressive basslines, pounding drums and the occasional surprise, like the ragtime banjo that trips and dances throughout “Parable of the Sower”.
There is also a nice respect between the music and the lyrics, never letting one side become too overwhelming. The lyrical style of the music is reflective of the music itself, never drifting into the category of stock-modern rock; the lyrics (taken away from the music) could stand on their own as a separate work of contemporary fiction/poetry.
The band never seems to worry themselves with the confines of the genre they (supposedly) exist in; many of the tracks feature extreme tempo changes, completely renovating the songs. “For A Dreamer, Night's The Only Time Of Day” is one of the most impressive tracks on the album, showcasing expert musical writing skills, shifting the tone of the song from hard rock thrashing guitars, to pop-punk verses with flimsy strings, shaking tambourine and youthful (and impressive) vocals to an abrupt change of pace with marching band drumming and static vocals that feel slightly reminiscent of Taking Back Sunday and Thursday all within just over four minutes.
Though some current day pop-punk-rockers may find the music a little too complex and desire for a more controlled song structure, those in need of a breath of less generic fresh air will want to inhale this album and then beg for more.
Release date: May 9, 2006
Label: Fueled By Ramen
Rating: 8.3 / 10
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