It goes without saying that indie-pop-rock is a ceaselessly oversaturated genre within South Africa’s musical sphere. Every year a deluge of indie hopefuls launch themselves into the scene and every year sees a deluge of quintessential hopefuls sputter out. When I first came across Forefront, in spite of their obvious verve and ambition, I had a feeling they would slips into that selfsame fate. Their debut EP, however, has firmly changed my mind.
“Polaroids” is the 4-piece outfit’s debut offering. In the wake of their debut single ‘Happiest In Water’ and a meandering year in between, comes a striking indie-pop collection which has neatly revived the sputtering flame so easily acquired in this genre. Thematically being an overall snapshot of situations faced by young adults, the energetic, catchy project is something to keep a sharp eye on in the coming months.
Peppered with vagrant pauses and falsettos oohs, the opening track, ‘Situation’ neatly outlines broad scope of what this band has on offer within its fleeting, rollicking three minutes. There isn’t a false note in this track. Fast-paced and rhythmically dense, Taylor Jackson spits forth verses with just enough harmony to keep them sung – while a pattering rap verse saunters into play halfway through, contributing a delicious variation.
‘Mr Patience’ is driven by a four-chord acoustic guitar progression, fleshed out by its lively electronic counterpart, vocals slipping from high tone croons to lower timbre tones and back again. On the other hand, ‘Head On Fire’ grows stagnant quickly, heading into the over chartered waters of the lighter rock spectrum and grinding to a quintessential standstill.
Without pause, however, lead single ‘Hot Damn!’ picks up the pace once again. A misleadingly gentle, ballad-esque intro gives way to their characteristic energy within moments. It is ambition-fuelled and rippling with wildly danceable energy, well worth adding to your summer playlist. But closing track ‘Exactly What I Meant’ slips into a somewhat lacklustre rut as over-layered melody fill out the corners to an uncomfortable stretch. Nevertheless, this is a hardy debut for the indie-pop-rockers, which sees their game leap suddenly and stridently ahead.
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Listen to “Polaroids” below.