Further Seems Forever: How to Start a Fire (Tooth & Nail)

How to Start a Fire blends a little bit of emo, a dash of aggro, the discipline of power pop, and some contemporary alternative rock for a sound that is both pleasant and comfortable, if at times overly familiar.

Further Seems Forever is a band left to carry on in the absence of its lead singer, Chris Carrabba, who found a much more lucrative career as a solo artist under the name of Dashboard Confessional. Truth is, I never heard Further Seems Forever when Carrabba was in front of them. But the newly recruited Jason Gleason does an admirable job with the vocals; in fact, his pipes are richer and stronger than Carrabba’s, whose tend toward whiny.

How to Start a Fire blends a little bit of emo, a dash of aggro, the discipline of power pop, and some contemporary alternative rock for a sound that is both pleasant and comfortable, if at times overly familiar. “Didn’t you know you were a saint?/What a shameful fall from grace/but I’ll catch you,” Gleason intones on “Against my Better Judgment”; later in the song, he provides a screaming background vocal for his own lead. “I Am” has a bit of a godly feel to it, as the narrator is embodied in all that his intended audience sees and feels: “I am the madness/the loss/the dark/the hunt/the cage/the race.”

“On Legendary” begins as a beautiful, piano-driven ballad before roaring into a stadium anthem. “The Deep” is a swirling dream with heavy religious overtones: “You’ll be a wolf devoured by a lion/’cause you look like a lamb/but baptized in fire.” Closing out the disc is “Aurora Borealis (in long form),” an aptly ethereal song in which Gleason’s vocals soar above the low-swirling guitars and drums.

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