Comprised of Scott Goldbaum (vocals, guitar), Mike Musselman (drums), Molly Rogers (viola, keyboards, vocals), and Nick Chamian (bass, vocals), the Los Angeles, CA-based quartet of Forebear may arguably be one of that city’s most accomplished indie bands as each member individually has worked with acts such as Feist, Randy Jackson, Keith Urban, Bastille and others. And although they had only been together as a band a few months, they managed to catch the attention of Scott Gordon, who has produced and engineered the likes of Alanis Morissette and Ringo Starr, and offered to produce the band’s debut self-titled EP. They’ve also begun to capture the attention of the blogosphere; in fact, they’ve been quickly considered a “band to watch” this year. 

Thematically and lyrically, as the band’s Scott Goldbaum notes, the material on the EP is “all about finding peace over the course of suffering, being proud of every step taken, reconciling with the fact you don’t have control over everything, calling those things about by name, marinating in them, learning from them, and valuing the catharsis that comes from sharing those experiences for what they were, both dreadful and wonderful.”  From listening to the EP, its readily apparent that its lyrics come from deeply personal, lived-in experience In a very subtle fashion, the material evokes the bitterly confusing, agonizing, shameful, angering ironies that come from very profound adult experiences. 

Sonically, the material possesses elements of indie rock, chamber pop and pop and it does so in a way that’s both intimate and sweepingly cinematic while bearing a resemblance to the likes of Scottish band Remember Remember, The National (although not as brooding), Melbourne, Australia’s Huskyand others. The EP’s first track "North Korea and The Five Stages of Grief” may be the EP’s most ambitious and dramatic song, thanks to its sweeping and gorgeous viola, thundering drums and eerie harmonies. But it also has a gorgeously hushed bridge. “Cusp” begins with a beautifully meandering guitar line that twists and turns around the vocals – that is before the viola adds some dramatic flair to the song. It’s probably one of the EP’s more brooding songs. Also, the allusion to people being much like coins is a beautiful and surreal one that I can’t quite get out of my head. “Who Writes Off Who” has the most complex song structure of the entire EP as it’s comprised of several different segments as it goes from soft and plaintive to aggressive and back to to soft and plaintive before ending in a noisy conflagration of sorts. In other words, the song twists, turns and morphs within the turn of a phrase. And the EP’s closing tune “Pigeons Eating Glass” starts off a sparsely arranged ballad in which Goldblum’s vocals are accompanied by gorgeously played guitar before the addition of the other instruments. 

For one of the first EPs I’ve come across this year, Forebear’s self-titled debut effort manages to be impressive as it’s deeply affecting and gorgeous. I’m looking forward to hopefully seeing more from them.