contributions from members of The National, Shudder To Think, Pattern Is
Movement, St. Vincent and Dirty Projectors.
By Blurt Staff
duo The Forms has a new album, Derealization, out February 15th on Threespheres/Ernest Jenning. The record, which spotlights
newly transformed and newly realized versions of previous tracks from previous
albums, features guest appearances from the likes of Matt Berninger (The
National), Craig Wedren (Shudder To Think), Andrew Thiboldeaux (Pattern Is
Movement), and a string section featuring Dirty Projectors’ Nat Baldwin and St. Vincent’s Daniel Hart.
You can hear an advance teaser MP3 featuring Thiboldeaux over at Stereogum: “Steady Hand”
“I think musical ideas are almost alive in a way,”
says Alex Tween, keyboardist and
lead singer. “Some of them, especially the good ones, will simply not go
away until they have been sufficiently expressed. They haunt you like ghosts
and refuse to leave you alone until they’ve been fulfilled.”
“It started as an accident,” elaborates Matt
Walsh, the multi-instrumentalist and producer who is the other half of The Forms, talking about the album’s origins.
“We had just received the vinyl of our last record. I was so excited that
I dropped the needle down without checking the speed on the turntable, which
was set to 45 instead of 33. Immediately, we were blown away at how the songs
took on a whole new character at that speed. We spent that afternoon listening
to the record at different speeds and made the decision on the spot to do a
Derealization ultimately turned
into a hybridized combinations of new and old. Melodies and lyrics from the
bands’ two previous records – Icarus and The Forms – provide
the basis for the six tracks on Derealization. But the ideas have been pushed farther, distilled to their essence and then
fleshed out and augmented with new arrangements, chord progressions and words.
It was an intense process of deconstructing and recombining, all of which took
place in a new studio in Ridgewood, Queens,
which Walsh designed and built himself. The duo recorded Derealization there with producer Scott Solter (Superchunk, St.
Vincent). “The sound on this record is much more
aestheticized and more fully formed than on our first two records,” says
Walsh. “We have always been into mystery in music. We always wanted
listeners to get into the shape of the music, and let that shape speak to them.
But this time, we set about creating a more specific, almost visual world
within each song.”
To help achieve that goal, Tween and Walsh called on a group of high-profile
musicians to collaborate on particular tracks. The most dramatic contributions
are guest vocals by three singers who re-worked Tween’s original vocal lines to
fit their own distinctive styles. Matt
Berninger sings the opening track, “Fire To The Ground,”
imbuing the existing melody with a richer, more sonorous tone. Andrew Thiboldeaux adds layer upon
layer of harmony to his lead vocal on “Steady Hand,” creating an
almost dizzying gospel chorus effect. And “Finally” features a
virtuoso vocal performance by Craig
Wedren. “I had been struggling with that song for months,”
said Tween. “Craig took it, and within two days he had added these
heavenly vocal parts.”
The Forms are planning a North
American tour in support of the new EP, which will be released on February 15th.
1. Fire to the Ground (feat. Matt Berninger)
2. Same Path Mantra
3. Steady Hand (feat. Andrew Thiboldeaux
4. Alpha Wave
5. Finally (feat. Craig Wedren)