First To Leave – Forging A Future

First To Leave – Forging A Future / 2007 Wednesday Records / 12 Tracks / / /

Man, I had no idea that First To Leave was going to sound like how they end up sounding at the beginning of “Forging A Future”. The cover of this album is very nondescript when it comes to giving clues about the band, so needless I was shocked when I heard an energetic, punk-heavy sound during “The Saving Cycle”. “Forging A Future” was produced by J. Robbins, who individuals may remember as a member of Jawbox, Government Issue, and Burning Airlines. “Keep Moving” brings the style of The Red Hot Valentines back into prominence, although it is true that First To Leave does not have a synthesizer in their music. What the band does during the entirety of “Forging A Future” is create a pop-punk style that few individuals remember. This pop-punk style is not the style of a Green Day, nor is it the style of a Blink or a Green Day, but rather of (very) early Unwritten Law and Face to Face.

There is emotion present, there are hints of an emotional style, but the energy and arrangements present during First To Leave’s album are much more grounded in punk music than anything else. Couple that overall sound with a length to each of these songs that is in perfect harmony with the punk style (most songs here end well before the 3 minute mark), and that makes First To Leave into a band that, while in the current period, has a high amount of love for the earlier period. A number of the earlier tracks on “Forging A Future” are strong but don’t represent a crossover type of track.

It is only when First To Leave get to “Two Guns, One Mile” that First To Leave has their first big hit. The chorus is catchy, the drums splashy, and the band shows little effort in creating what is an amazing track. I may not have been very familiar with the band before getting a copy of “Forging A Future”, but the effort that the band makes on this album shows that I will hear a lot more for them before they pack it in. If you love the Descendents or the middle-era punk bands previously mentioned (Unwritten Law, Face to Face), pick up this album and be taken back to the halcyon days of 1993 and 1994. Regardless, if you like energetic rock music, buy this album.

Top Tracks: The Blind Man!, Keep Moving

Rating: 7.5/10

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Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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