From start to finish, track one to thirteen, front to back cover, this is a very special album. Forts, the latest offering from Brooklyn's The Boggs, shows the broad scope of the talent of main-Bogg Jason Friedman. It is tough to truly describe the music that he creates, with a barrage of influence that range from folk to blues to disco to just about everything in between. Rather than attempting to pigeonhole this layered, texturally fascinating album into one genre, we'll just leave it as this: awesome.
Friedman kicks off the album with the title track, "Forts." The tribal-like percussion sets up a head-nodding groove, joined by his wailing vocals as he shouts "she sits in the kitchen, twitch-twitch." This sets us up for the next track, the infectious single "Remember The Orphans." This is one of the moments on the record where his sometimes tour-mates The Rapture have rubbed off on his sound. Easily one of the best songs of the year, it is manic, catchy, fun and just a bit eerie. This post-punk gem will have you chanting along with "Gasp! Lapse! Couldn't be! I mean."
The Boggs' roots in blues and folk shine through on "Little Windows," an acoustic song with rumbling percussion and a lovely duet that leads to a bright ending with horns and a sunny chorus. It isn't until you read the lyrics that you have a holy shit moment. This isn't cheery at all. Friedman just psyched me out. Well played, sir! Skipping a few tracks further, we get to one of Forts' highlights, the stomping beat of "Arm In Arm." The beat is a bit reminiscent of Gary Glitter's "Rock And Roll, Pt. 2," but you won't be yelling "HEY!" along with this one. It is dark, aggressive and captivating, as the listener is bombarded by a fat bass line and the occasional trumpet.
"Bookends" is another brilliant track on the album, diving headfirst into Friedman's blues encased in some mighty fascinating garage rock. While he yells "the sun sets / the city sleeps / winter hatches slash it / the house collapses," the song gives a haunting feeling like you are being chased by a madman down a dark alleyway. The Boggs excel in evoking emotions and even a bit of fear in the listener, showing the strength of the songwriting as well as the intense musicianship on Forts.
With all of the twists and turns throughout this album, I'm going to save a few surprises for our readers. Forts is an outstanding collection of songs that require multiple listens in order to go through the many layers Friedman's music. There is a whole lot going on, and you'll want to discover every bit of it. Forts is a standout album, which should put The Boggs on the indie rock map.