Further Seems Forever is back with original frontman, Chris Carrabba, on its fourth studio album, Penny Black. Earlier this summer, rumors of Carrabba’s return seemed too good to be true, but after listening to this album, it’s like he never left. The chemistry on Penny Black has never been hotter between Josh Colbert (guitar), Derick Cordoba, Nick Dominguez (guitar), Chad Neptune (bass) and Steve Kleisath (drums).
Penny Blank has a dark demeanor about it, in both tone and sound. In “So Cold,” Carrabba belts out in long forgotten shouts with biting and gritty guitars supporting him. “Rescue Trained”, one of the best tracks by far, has so much intensity wrapped up within the instrumentation and vocals separately. The drums provide a steady rhythm while the guitar and bass chords amp up the song. But Carrabba’s voice is what really gets under our skin—he always has a way of connecting with the listener in a way that enables them to feel his pain and strains as he screams, “Yeah, I know we’re both strong willed. But we can’t resists forever. If we won’t take control can we only let go?”
“Staring Down The Sun” is a deep-rooted confession to a lover. “These days run through each other. Just the thought of you alone makes me suffer. When all I ever really wanted, all I ever wanted was your love,” Carrabba sings. The grungy harmonies in the last minute of the song give it a nice touch. The next song, “A System of Symmetry” picks up where it left off, taking a more electronic approach with a touch of auto-tune on the vocals. Lines like “a pin sticking in my ribs just isn’t enough to live” remind listeners that this band still has a dark side, no matter how old they are. Everyone’s inner emo tween will be ready to come out and play.
As stated in the song, “On The Outside,” Further Seems Forever seems to have been traveling on a path that “doesn’t lead to answers”. They acknowledge that struggles are real and while broken promises can be overwhelmingly frustrating ”if you’re prepared you’ll survive.” The uplifting messages persist on “Rusted Machines,” which has an earthy vibe about it, with softer shreds and a lighter feel as Carrabba hums that “silence is gold.” Further Seems Forever ends with the haunting acoustic song, “Janie”. Carrabba begs for forgiveness, and soft-spokenly declares that “summer is over and done.”
Nothing sounds out of place or skips a beat. Further Seems Forever might think that they “always push too hard,” but Penny Black proves that they pushed themselves hard enough to create an album worth waiting for forever.