The Forecast – Proof of Impact

The Forecast
Proof of Impact

Ah, sour home Chicago. For all your Nanas, your Skibas, and your Kinsellas, we salute you. Actually scratch that, we only give you a half salute for the Kinsellas. And I proudly applaud another one of your native sons, trying to join the upper echelon, Mr. Jared Grabb, front man of The Forecast, who have provided us a splendidly promising seven-track CD.
Grabb Sings, “Home is where the heart is…” on “Water Makes the Weeds Grow Tall” – it’s a trite cliché, but in this case one that is especially appropriate. The Forecast is a band indebted to their forefathers from Champaign/ Urbana and Chicago for much of their sound. Most notably influential are the Bob Nanna projects Friction and Braid. In fact, it is on “Water Makes…” that Forecast most clearly capture the energy contained within Friction’s off-key blasts. However, influences aside, the Forecast clearly improves on the sound Friction pioneered rather than being a strict carbon copy. The music is more melodic and accessible, and the group includes better songwriters. Throw in elements of bands like Seville, Gauge, and As Friends Rust, and you’ve got The Forecast.
Forecast aren’t quite ready however, to become gods of the scene. They need a bit more polishing before they captivate national attention and get everyone asking, “what’s in the water up there?” Not to keep harping on the idea that location is everything, but the song “Chicago” has its faults. The music is driving and tight, but the vocals try too hard to hit the right notes. For the most part they’re on, but you can tell he’s straining, and as a result the band disregards the energy of the backing music. If the singer let himself go a little bit, it would be much more appropriate for the anthem chorus.
It’s always nice to throw a Skynyrd reference whenever possible. The motivation for naming their song, “Freebird 2: This Time its Personal” may be to actually have a musical response when any heckler yells the obligatory “Freebird” at shows. You won’t find any traces of Van Zant in this piece though. It’s a rocking number that features some of the many back-up female vocals courtesy of bassist Marsha Satterfield. The highlight of the album, though, is the closer “Bad Reception,” a lulling and building ballad that stretches to a chorus of sparsely accompanied vocals, only to be kicked back in with loud guitar. A resonating highlight, for sure.
So consider Proof of Impact the next chapter in the Chicago underground. It’s a weighty torch to carry, but The Forecast are up to the challenge. Even with some rookie imperfections, this album is worth your attention, no matter where you are from.