Live Reviews

Forever Like Red – Live

Islington Academy

Monday’s been a long day, and it’s fair to say my enthusiasm for heading out to a show is lacking somewhat, and by the time I get to Bar Academy I’m not in the sunniest of moods. However Forever Like Red may just be the cure for Monday-gloom, and by the time I leave the venue an hour later, I’m almost smiling.

Formed early in 2006 Forever Like Red brought together the seemingly unlimited talents of Cameron Mashall with guitarist Pelle Hillstrom. Most of the tracks from their forthcoming album ‘Distance‘ that are showcased tonight are written by Mashall, and are without exception the kind of all enveloping tracks that give you goose bumps and stick in your heads for hours.

Taking to the stage Mashall looks at ease, despite the fact the audience is sparse. Backed by Mikkel Heimburger on bass and Jesper Kristensen on drums, the overall sound is rich, full with beautifully crafted, uplifting melodies encased in wonderfully heavy guitars – they’re the kind of songs that you want to go home and listen to over and over again. Mashall has a Buckley-esque turn to his voice, and in tracks like ‘Dream On‘ and ‘Forever Like Red‘ showcases his vocal range without sounding too cheesey or too much like a Buckley-wannabe.

There’s a raw, almost tense, element to some tracks, a sliver of aggression showing through in some hooks that keeps them from becoming too pop rock. Lyrics stick in your mind, ‘Dream on you little fool’ circles your thoughts for hours.. But despite the dramatic flourishes, Forever Like Red have a darker edge, tracks like the climatic ‘Father‘ are raw and emotion driven, guitars cutting through the melody, Mashall twisting and turning on stage, throwing the mic stand to the floor. It’s a dramatic end to a hugely impressive set from the relative newcomers..

Despite the short set list, the band are commanding tonight, the tracks on display are captivating and involving rock, without being too poppy or pretentious. With their Dave McCracken produced debut album due out on Echo later this year, this could be the start of something exciting, and it’s a pleasure to hear a band with such well written tracks. These guys could be the real deal, check them out at Water Rats on 12th June, you won’t be disappointed.

Dee Massey