ALBUM REVIEW: Small Forward – ‘Small Forward’

IT IS never too late in the year to go back to some lost album that went under the radar. That’s certainly the case for Small Forward’s eponymous debut album, out in May this year.

The LA trio released an album that, while taking from the vintage pop masterminds of the decade (Real Estate, Ducktails, Whitney, etc.), has a distinct feel. Most importantly, it has some really memorable songs you can hum and sing to, which is quite rare.

Indeed, “Imagine So” represents a good example, with its underground, romantic narrative and timid groove – much like watching some Duplass movie on Netflix. An incredibly endearing chorus completes Small Forward’s perfect scheme.

The album indulges a bit on the mellow side of combining light synth touches, falsetto harmonisation and jazzy/lounge arrangements (“Can’t Keep On With You”, “Most Of You”), even though you won’t find a more enjoyable listen this year in the genre. “Out Of Luck” is probably the best soul-pop song this year.

Despite the low key release (as of now it’s only out as a limited edition, self-released cassette), everything in the album sounds classy and fine-tuned, as in Clientele-sounding “Trajectory”. Even uptempo songs such as opener “Bloodhounds” have a french touch in their songwriting and sound, as if they were a soundtrack to a Rohmer movie. The same feeling of a wasted, bittersweet holiday is reproduced in the faint bossanova in “Bound”.

Give yourself a Christmas present and have a listen.

Small Forward’s self-titled album is available now as a digital download and limited edition cassette over at Bandcamp.

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