Further Seems Forever – The Moon is Down

Further Seems Forever
The Moon is Down

Damn. I guess I’m out of touch with the current state of Tooth and Nail, because I never expected to hear something like The Moon is Down on this label. Then again, the last T&N release that I actually listen to on a regular basis is the 4th Anniversary Box Set, so go figure.
Further Seems Forever is a self-professed “melodic rock band” from southern Florida that, to this point, is probably best known for its contribution to Chapter Four of Deep Elm’s Emo Diaries. That track, “Vengence Factor,” was just the tip of the iceberg represented with The Moon is Down.
This has a very deep sound. Thick really doesn’t describe it, as nothing on this album is particularly heavy or loud. Rather, the mixing/engineering gives the disc a very full, lush quality. Even the most delicate guitar lines manage to sound full instead of ‘tinny,’ making for a very smooth listening experience.
The majority of The Moon is Down focuses on slower, more swirling material, which the band has down to a science. Seriously – this stuff sounds INCREDIBLE. “Snowbirds and Townies” winds along on a gentle bed of piano and guitar, with Chris Carrabba’s vocals soaring over guitar chords before returning back to their initial hush. The romantic imagery is strong, touching on the ever-strange and strained relationships forged between townies and tourists (“And on these boats ride the hopes of working class boys / Dreaming of girls from far away points”). The opening to “New Year’s Project” is as delicate as an origami flower, with a slow, lulling guitar line that serves as a perfect precursor for the song’s buildup. It’s easy to imagine Carabba’s body wrenching when he croons, “To hold you now / It is a far cry more than anything that I deserve.” The guitars swell and lead to a calmly forceful chorus, ending with the painful admittance of “I’d give you my life / If you’d give me yours somehow.” As that line ends, a ‘bright’ guitar line picks the song up and carries it away from that declaration, only to let it fall back there again to end the song.
“Just Until Sundown” is another proper little heartbreak song, with the requisite guitar parts picking up as the song’s emotion builds along the lines of “The words that you cited were chosen / Not fate, not spoken in haste.” This leads to the dream that “Just until sundown, just one more day / I could hold you without you pushing me away.” “Pictures of Shorelines” is a bit faster and edgier than the rest (think Sarge with a male singer), as Carabba relates that “Several of these miles placed in between us / Mean several of these words being sent by mail.” The song takes a dreamy, romantic swirl when the rhythm changes behind the vocal wail of “I hope this letter finds you well,” then runs back to the faster pace. When Carabba sings that “Less of you is more than I can take” to end the song, it comes off sincere and believable instead of sounding contrived.
Of course, not everything on the disc is quite so slow. The title track, “Madison Prep,” and “Wearing Thin” are more upbeat, leaning more towards the lines of Hot Rod Circuit or the Get Up Kids. “Monachetti” is a bit on the slower side, although Carabba’s borderline-screamed vocals add a real sense of intensity to lyrics like “You said there would not be any reason to fear this world / But you’re the reason I feel broken and branded and burning with doubt.” Ouch. Album closer “A New Desert Life” is a bit schizophrenic, managing to sound like both At the Drive-In and Elliot at varying points. Towards the end of the track, things slow down to allow the floating lyric of “Everything’s falling” to embed itself as quite possibly the catchiest hook on the disc.
Further Seems Forever has a really good thing going here. The lyrics are hopelessly romantic and tragic, but they come off with a poetic sense that sits well with the smooth, full sound of the instrumentation. I guess this disc would make for good “make-up/break-up” music to some, but The Moon is Down is just so damn well-done that I can’t stop listening to it period. Fully recommended. Unfortunately, it appears this is the last FSF album that Carrabba will sing on, as he’s focusing all of his current efforts on Dashboard Confessional.