Forever After has made a real splash in the pool of UK emergent pop-punk with their catchy and hard-hitting sound. Having already secured themselves a strong local following in their home county of Essex, the young four piece has been delighting crowds all over the country, supporting other UK breakthrough acts such as Mallory Knox and Futures.
Within the folds of the six songs that make up Wilderness, the boys smash out true pop-punk, revealing apathy for popular culture and the stagnating society that is Britain in recession. There is more catchy melodies and sophistication than the “F**K YOU!” of straight up punk and there is much more honesty and aggression than the “love me, love me” of pop music. The lyrics emit the typical socialist vibes, “it’s down to us in the community”, delivering songs for the fans to empathise with, sharing the collective disdain for the mess today’s youth has been left with.
Opening track ‘I’ve Got Friends’, hooks in the listener with punk riffs, crashing drums and a sound which sees every instrument blend together to compliment Dom Littler’s vocals. With lyrics such as ‘I’ve got friends but they’re leaving me all the time’ it can show the sacrifices in dedicating your life to a band in its infancy as other friends go off to University or get ‘real’ jobs. The track is aggressive in a passionate way, delivering every line with a punch.
‘Game Over’ is just as catchy, although a tad slower, with verses that build up to a chorus packed with foot-tapping melodies and a fistful of energy. The drum and bassline bounce off each other joyfully alongside Littler’s raw, powerful vocals and this carries on into ‘Grab A Drink’ which screams to life with a strong riff before swirling into a combination of raw verses and a rhythmic chorus.
‘Stay’ swirls into life with an introduction that grabs the listeners unwavering attention. The song is one of the EPs most instrumentally refined, showcasing impulsive tempo transitions between verse and chorus with polished guitars, a leading bass and a supportive drum beat which forms the backbone of not only the track but the EP in its entirety. All four of them successfully flaunt their musical prowess to round off the song with a modest yet fruitful instrumental.
The stand out track on the release definitely comes in the form of ‘Stupidity’ which displays the songwriting talents of this young band. The vocals really come to the fore helping to emphasise what is without a doubt the lyrically best track on this release. Although it is vocally simplistic, the strength of deliverance and lyrical dexterity make up for it, with a cheekily rebellious feel to every line. The instruments again merge together as delicate guitars and a subtle beat support Littler’s singing to create an all-rounder hit. The Essex quartet really strike gold with this track, hitting out at popular culture and pop music in a similar vein to fellow Essex boys Inme with their ‘Single of the Weak’ a few years back.
‘Chapters’ rounds off the EP with the slow, simple, majestic feel of a ballad. An acoustic guitar and softer vocals hold the first half of the song until the drums kick in, but even then they manage to retain the slow and passionate feel it began with. As the only track that is not obviously pop-punk, ‘Chapters’ allows Littler’s emotive vocals layered on top of the musical accompaniments to provide a long outro to wind down the EP.
Considering the plethora of young pop-punk bands out there trying to be Blink-182 or Sum 41, in ‘Wilderness’ Forever After remain very pop-punky, but they do it bloody well. For fans of Mallory Knox; We Are The Ocean; New Found Glory, the Essex lads don’t reinvent the genre, but they don’t just copy all that has gone before either. ‘Wilderness’ forms a statement of intent for climbing high up the pop-punk ladder.
4 out of 5 high fives!