‘Provlépseis’ means predictions in Greek, and in the new album from Tori Forsyth, out through Island Records Australia and UMA, becomes a mysterious label for a blistering, visceral piece of work with a pop heart and barbed-wire veins. Combining Forsyth’s swooping, ascendant vocals with chunky, thundering guitars and an insistent driving rhythm gives wings to indelible melodies and a strength and passion that is exhilarating.
Stylistically, Forsyth is difficult to pin down, but there are chiming guitars that recall the subtly and grace of Johnny Marr, vocals that have the passion and delivery of singers from bands like The Cranberries, PJ Harvey and Garbage, which can pull back to deliver soft and restrained ballads. Think perhaps of a harder Sharon Von Etten. From a whisper to a roar, Forsyth delivers the most tantalising vocals, contrasted at times and matching the gritty guitar-based. Themes are personal and tinged with a delicious, expressive darkness. Forsyth says of the album:
It’s been a while since I recorded this album and it’s interesting to interpret the lyrics with the benefit of hindsight; where I might not have really known what a few songs meant at the time, I definitely do now… I’m a pretty spiritual person, but I think that just goes to show how important it is to listen to your intuition.
Opening track, ‘Be Here’ is a driving, slamming track with wailing, tortured guitars over scaling thrumming rhythms and vaulting choruses: pure rock vibrancy that is cathartic and bold. The accompanying performance video is enigmatic, dramatic and poised, as every good music video should be:
The reverberated guitars of ‘All For You’ add a drive and instance underneath Forsyth’s vocals – impassioned yet somehow cold and distant:
I find myself in the same place
Looking for answers so I start to pray
And then you told me that there’s no god
So how the hell could I move on?
You do it all for you
There is a gothic undertone and sense of resilience and empowerment in Forsyth’s stories – witness the strength and power in her delivery in the video. which Forsyth says:
I wanted the concept of ‘All For You’ to reflect the versus in the song. Very mystical and
symbolic. I wanted it to reflect parts of myself that lean into spiritualism to move through tough times. The
idea of grabbing onto anything that can provide a pulse. To want something bigger and not knowing what
it is, trying to trust that this too, whatever that may be shall pass.
‘Redundant’ is an explosive hard rock track that sends the pulse racing – mountainous riffs and drums that part the brain with their strength, which then segues into ‘Courtney Love’, a brittle and immersive ballad that introduces a hint of synths and a profound and bittersweet lyrics:
Oh, everyone can drink but you got caught, And don’t forget who knows
about your vault, ‘Cause I’ll break it like the ’90s and Courtney Love.
The video is close, transfixing and raw:
‘Last Man Stands’ has jangling guitars that sit under Forsyth’s gorgeous vocals – soft, emotive but with a distant, dark edgy undercurrent that catches and burns as the song increases in intensity.
‘Nothing At All’ has the same lyrical rawness and pop melodies of fellow Queenslander Mallrat, signifying Forsyth’s incredible range of songwriting. The distant sampled voice adds an ethereal mysterious edge to the delectable vocals.
‘Blaming Me’ is pure anthemic indie pop – soaring choruses and a pulse quickening tone, while ‘Down Below’ is another sparse, raw track showcasing Forsyth’s dark, gothic lyrics that form a cutting counterpoint to the instrumentation:
Looking at myself all I see is black
I paint it on my face, I dye my hair like that
Fill me up again, I’m in wonderland
Change the way I see, kick me when I stand
The video showcases Forsyth’s enigmatic presence: she is poised and arch, dramatic and mesmerising:
Ultimately and most refreshing is that this is an organic guitar-driven album – minimal trickery in the production, direct and fresh, energising indie rock that has both light and shade: a sort of gothic pop with a hard rock ethos. As both the music and video performances attest, this is a dark and reflective exposition – Forsyth says:
This record is definitely very personal. Whenever I write, it’s difficult for me to not be the centrepiece of the song.
The result is something that is dynamic, immersive and deeply satisfying: the full throated roar of rock’n’roll with a subtlety and delicacy and just a hint of malevolency. A perfect recipe. My prediction is that this album will explode along with Forsyth’s already ascendant stature.
‘Provlépseis’ is out on Friday, 21 May 2021, and you can download/stream here.
Feature Photograph: She Is Apollo