Los Angeles – Quiet Day has been in the making for some time for the Brooklyn quintet, Fort Lean. The group has been active since 2011 when they first released their eponymous EP. Throughout the years of discovery, searching for an identity and experimentation, Keenan Mitchell (vocals, guitar), Zach Fried (guitar), Will Runge (keyboard, guitar), Jake Aron (bass) and Sam Ubl (drums) have developed much buzz surrounding their released singles. Likewise, their live performances have stirred a great deal of excitement while opening up for acts like Future Islands and HAIM. They’ve explored an indie rock sound that balances between slacker rock and breezy pop rock. I’d have to say their style is the amalgamation of early 2000s rock (think Weezer) and modern day (think Surfer Blood). However, after all this time of collective songwriting, tweaking their pop sensibilities, and honing their craft, the band is completely prepared to introduce their debut album via Ooh La La Records. Is the band still on the right track?
“Cut To The Chase” features the yearning vocals of Keenan Mitchell alongside charging drums and billowy synths. With jangly guitars and powerpop tendencies, the opening track is a great way to get things underway. “Just A Little Spirit” gets you in the dancing mood with its pithy melodies and uplifting arrangements. Fort Lean create sharp tunes that are lean and mean. There’s no filler or fat on the edges and this let’s you really sink into each of their tracks. “Don’t Make It A Habit” is a bit more introspective than the previous two tracks. There’s a classic 60s rock quality to it making Fort Lean a band that can connect with those of previous generations. The format of the song shines throughout as Mitchell convincingly belts out the lyrics in the final stretch of the tune. “New Hobbies” explodes out of the gates with thumping guitars and pounding drums. At less than two minutes, it’s the shortest track off Quiet Day, but remains equally as effective. The title track closes out the first half of the record. Fort Lean slows down their tempo tremendously with this dreamy, psychedelic endeavor that has the listener becoming lost within. The contemplative song walks a fine line between gloom and impending doom, but with all the somberness there’s still something rather endearing to be had.
“In The Hospital” is Fort Lean’s most vigorous and well-crafted gem in their lineup of ten tracks. First of all, it’s irrefutably cool as the band takes a bleaker turn within their signature style. The self-destructive tune has a compelling chorus as Mitchell belts out the line, “I hope this night doesn’t put you in this hospital.” The guitars kind of shuffles back and forth before the chorus erupts into something hauntingly good. “Might’ve Misheard” brings Fort Lean back to their usual explosive sound. It is as heavily layered as it is brimming with electricity. This band keeps moving forward with each track and it feels Fort Lean probably has way more to offer than just these ten cuts that made it to the record. “21” floats effortlessly with tender guitars and a lo-fi vibe. Once again, Fort Lean leans toward a dreamy affair, but never overplays that card. As dream-pop/dream-rock becomes more popular, Fort Lean knows exactly how to utilize this type of sound without wearing out its welcome. “Home For Dinner” is a bright, poppy, surf rock effort. Swirling guitars and fast drums are once again the right recipe for Fort Lean to cook up.
The record flies by. It is so, so good. It has this particular way of being an ideal way to transition from summer to autumn. Quiet Day is a cohesive, consistent album from a band that’s always had a lot of promise and potential. While it took some years to finally see the light, Fort Lean’s debut LP doesn’t disappointment and should have them back on everyone’s radar.
Check out Fort Lean on Facebook for more info.
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