Face the music: take the time to listen to Forest City & Friends

Forest City & Friends “Sol” EP cover. Artwork by Leo Lyxxx

Forest City & Friends is a Portland-based rock band with a new EP, “Sol,” out this week, and celebrating with a show April 22 at Sun Tiki Studio in Portland.

The band formed in 2016 when Pete Giordano (Twisted Roots, Heart Shaped Rock) started writing songs with Chris Muccino (Endless Interstate, Liquid Daydream), and soon after Greg Goodwin (Mercy, Akela Moon) took them on. joined. Four years later, they released their self-titled debut album with the help of several other local musicians.

“Sol,” their second album, has a classic 70s rock and late 60s psychedelic vibe, but also modern rock, and after a few laps, I knew I liked it. But one rainy Friday morning, I closed all my computer tabs, put on my headphones, closed my eyes, and listened to all four tracks non-stop, so I could focus my mind and ears on the nuances of each song. Things like backing vocals and horns became clearer. The lyrics weren’t fighting for my attention. The songs seeped through rather than overwhelmed me.

In addition to Giordano (vocals, guitars), Muccino (guitars, banjo, mandolin, synth, keyboards) and Goodwin (bass, vocals, percussion), the band now includes Paul Gauer (drums), Sheridan (vocals), Bill Bourassa ( guitars), Tom Archer (saxophone/flute) and Tim Myers (percussion).

The opening track of “Sol” is called “Animal Crackers”, which makes the analogy that we’re all in a version of “The Matrix”.

“Animal crackers with us in the boxes/Trapped behind cages with laptop laptops,” sings Pete Giordano with a muscular yet clear voice that happily recalls the late (and spectacularly brilliant) Warren Zevon.

There’s also a thrilling density of bass, drums and electric guitar running through the song and saxophone for good measure. Sheridan adds another layer with her backing vocals and a few lines that lead to the repeated line, “It’s just the beginning!”

“My Bird” begins with acoustic guitar and chirping birds. Giordano’s lead vocals and Sheridan’s harmony are sublime. A minute later, drums, bass, percussion and flute enter the song as it picks up momentum. Some vocal effects and a slide guitar are also included and – what is it? A mandolin? Indeed, it is. “My Bird” is the kind of song that would fit perfectly into a classic rock block of radio songs like Led Zeppelin and Bad Company. There’s something familiar about it, but it’s also fresh enough to warrant a more contemporary spread.

A funky bassline opens “Unstoppable Gun,” and shortly after, perfectly deployed synth riffs kick in. A steady rocker, the track shines with bursts of sax, searing electric guitar, and the arrival of Sheridan. leading towards the end. The song is a field guide to well-executed song structure.

The eight-plus-minute track “Seasons/Sol” closes the EP with an air of intrigue. Vast stories tell of “living like clockwork year after year”. The narrator essentially walks the earth through the seasons. Ancient wisdom is dispensed with flashes of saxophone as Giordano slips into a trance-like state with rapid-fire lines of vanishing into Earth to await the fifth sun. It’s a psychedelic journey of a song if there ever was one. Giordano said he was inspired by creating and destroying myths.

Forest town and friends. Photo by Ian Smith

‘Sol’ was produced, recorded and mixed by Anthony Gatti (with assistance from Giordano and Muccino) at Gatti’s studio, The Bulkhead, in Scarborough. Grammy-winning engineer Adam Ayan mastered the songs at Gateway Mastering in Portland. You’ll find physical copies at Bull Moose locations in Maine and New Hampshire, and it will land on streaming platforms on April 12.

Forest City & Friends CD Release Show Featuring An Overnight Low
8 p.m. April 22. Sun Tiki Studios, 375 Forest Ave., Portland. $10 in advance, $13 the day of the show, all ages. suntikistudios.com

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