Forever is now
Emo forerunners Further Seems Forever have a new vocalist, a new album and a new tour coming through Chico
A lead vocalist is not only the voice of a band, but also its very identity. Not to disparage the other parts of the musical unit, but losing a singer can spell doom, while replacing a bassist may be a matter of just making a few phone calls.
After three albums, the members of Further Seems Forever are already working with their third vocalist. But in a phone interview drummer Steve Kleisath sounds relaxed and confident about the Pompano Beach, Fla., band’s new front man, Jon Bunch, and new album, Hide Nothing, which hit record stores last month.
“We think it’s the best stuff we’ve done to date,” Kleisath says during a rainy off-day in Nashville, Tenn.
The band, which includes guitarists Derick Cordoba and Josh Colbert and bassist Chad Neptune, could almost be considered veteran by “emo” standards. Further Seems Forever released its debut, The Moon is Down, a full six years ago, in 1998. It featured Dashboard Confessional creator and emo poster boy Chris Carrabba on vocals.
Carrabba had been doing Dashboard as a side project but left FSF left to make it a full-time gig. Kleisath said he still keeps in touch with Carrabba and that he deserves his success.
“He definitely worked his ass off,” Kleisath said.
Jason Gleason came in and stuck around long enough to record FSF’s sophomore release, How to Start a Fire, and lay down vocals on one song for Hide Nothing.
“He left in a very horrible, unprofessional way,” said Kleisath, referring to Gleason’s unannounced exit. The band was again faced with filling a huge void.
Bunch had fronted the band Sense Field for more than a decade before entering the FSF fold in March. With the batch of new songs needing lyrics and vocals, Bunch came in and knocked them out, and the band finished the record.
FSF’s experience of working with a variety of personalities and through adversity is what undoubtedly gives Hide Nothing its unpretentious sound. The new music sounds like five musicians doing what comes naturally, without trying to overdo it.
Not to say the music is simplistic. Bunch’s vocals melt smoothly over the off-kilter timing of songs like “The Sound” and “Someone You Know.”
Kleisath said the new album combines elements from the first two records. The band members listen to everything from punk to jazz, but he said it’s a mood, not a style, that the band tries to create.
“There’s so many dime-a-dozen bands that get labeled,” he said, “We want to be able to appeal to everybody.”
Kleisath gives a lot of the credit to Bunch, who brings a more natural voice to the lyrics.
“His lyrics are a lot less metaphorical and more up front,” Kleisath said. “He’s not trying to be too smart.”
Kleisath also said Bunch hits all the notes in the live setting, something his predecessors had difficulty with, and doesn’t over-act on stage.
“He doesn’t scream, he doesn’t roll around on the ground and flip out. He’s just a pure performer.”
Further Seems Forever is currently touring the Western United States and will drop by Chico on Sept. 14, to perform at the BMU Auditorium with The Kicks, Brandston and Salem.
The tour will take the group into early October, but with Hurricane Frances looming over its home state, the band may be forced to cut it short. But Kleisath remains positive. He said audiences can expect an energetic rock show and that he and his band mates are proud of the new record.
“We encourage people to pick up the new album and rediscover us."