Creatively captivating from the outset for repeatedly shifting gears and presenting cinematic intrigue, Forrest Wentzel’s new album blends genres and artistic details in a vastly unique manner. In other words, it mixes things up, breaks them down, rebuilds them, gets conceptual, personal, quirky – and all of this happens An Awful Lot.
From fragments of jazz to distorted guitars, industrial rhythms, melodic progressions to simple rhythmic outbursts, the project proves as colourful and topically vast as its artwork implies.
Intro alone lays bare the possible complexity of the journey ahead, but in no way does it prepare you.
“I know there’s an awful lot of songs already been sung, I know there’s an awful lot of plans already went wrong…”
After the vocal outline offered by the title-track, Pen to Paper delves into sci-fi-synth depths and dance rhythms, with breathy and delicate vocals that contrast the electronic production with the bare-mortar implications of writing a letter by hand.
Briefly the song is about fan-mail, appreciation for an artist, this particular artist, no less. Soon we realise the self-doubt aspect, the unexpected depths, and these traits ultimately run throughout the album. A quirky and contemplative hit of insight to pave the way.
Transported continues the journey into emotional awareness and the human mind with a piano-piece and diary-style outpouring as our singer fearlessly displays vulnerability and openness on the path towards intimacy. Uplifting in its movement from melancholy to brightness.
My Night Sky feels more trip-hop-like with its spoken fragments of yesteryear and the simple piano score and melody; another side to the creative.
Jamestown afterwards is a melodic highlight, rhythmic and spacious but with a slightly warped, still hooky vocal line of brightness and intrigue. Fuzzy production and those ever-evolving Wentzel calling cards help keep the track engaging whilst maintaining the crucial threads of recognisability. Joyful yet uncertain, likeable and anthemic at one moment – heavy and provocative at the next.
Small Talk reverts back to the questioning nature of earlier and the spacious, minimal arrangement that prompts deeper consideration of the ideas.
Later on, Lucky closes down the ten-track project with retro synths and whispered vocals that again lean between lostness and acceptance. Naturally an anthem-like finishing piece, repeating certain lyrical phrases as the music and energy build – an easy highlight and well-placed in luring you back in at the last hurdle.
Loaded with imagery and reflective sentiments, the project is deeply human and encapsulates much of the natural world at the same time. Forrest Wentzel showcases self-awareness and deeply considerate humanity throughout, veering between the search for self, for joy, and the need to understand the realities of the world and the many people within it.
A fascinating, subtly beautiful album, with a defiant level of identity about it.
Check out Forrest Wentzel on Instagram.