The Forms : self-titled

"Making this album was a pretty painful process," admits Forms frontman Alex Tween when asked about the band's follow-up to 2004's incredibly well-received, Pitchfork-approved debut Icarus—and, to be honest, his comment is a bit of an understatement. Recorded consecutively over a 50-day period in Illinois with Steve Albini (Nirvana, the Pixies) at Electrical Audio and assisted by Greg Norman (Built To Spill, Pelican) at Great Western Record Recorders, the process tested the New York act's limits of the band's sonics and sanity in ways that most of us couldn't even begin to imagine. "We couldn't afford to take one day off because we'd already paid for the studio time; all for 30 minutes of music, which works out to 35 seconds a day," frontman Alex Tween explains, "but we're really proud of how it came out."

Indeed, despite (and listening to the lyrics, maybe partially because of) all the physical and financial struggles the band- which also features guitarist Brendan Kenny, bassist Jackson Kenny and drummer Matt Walsh- endured during the recording, the disc takes the band's unique brand of post-hardcore to indescribable new levels. Fading in and out of each other like a series of dream sequences, The Forms evokes the classic Dischord roster such as Shudder To Think and Fugazi as much as it does underappreciated '90s acts like Slowdive and the Dismemberment Plan, but puts things in a more accessible pop context that will appeal to record store nerds and NPR listeners alike. "We've always felt like we've never fit in anywhere, especially in New York," Tween explains." But things seems to be changing; people seem to be open to something a little more challenging and different," he continues, adding the band feel a kinship with peers such as Battles, Deerhoof and Dirty Projectors.

Above all The Forms are perfectionists (Albini himself admitted he'd never worked with a band that had gone over the same piece of tape 58 times, as The Forms did on their debut) and if anything, that attention to detail is amplified on the band's latest disc. >From the hypnotic opener "Knowledge In Hand" to the alternately driving and droning (in a good way) "Red Gun", all of the songs on The Forms are distinctively different without compromising the band's unique vision. In fact, if the album's ethereal closer "Getting It Back" doesn't completely captivate you, well, we don't know what to tell you. "With this new album we really didn't want to take the easy way out and instead tried to make our ideas work as songs by having parts work with each other organically and actually make sense," Tween explains. "We still tried to mess with the idea of what a song is every chance we could get, but I think the end result is a lot more cohesive and refined than the first record."

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