Perhaps it’s because I grew up with only my mom and two sisters around most of the time that I always feel I understand women better than I do men. This doesn’t ring true at all in my personal life though it seems to be pretty spot on when it comes to my musical and literary tastes. I tend to gravitate towards women writers and towards bands that are either fronted by women or in some cases comprised completely of them like La Luz, Hinds, and Chastity Belt to name a few. But the band at hand that has intrigued me recently is the female fronted Philly rock trio Dear Forbidden.
On their debut, the six-song Glitter & Dissonance, Dear Forbidden channels the sounds of mid-to-late ‘90s alternative rock and their songs bear odes and echoes to such bands of that time as Veruca Salt, The Breeders, The Smashing Pumpkins and Bush. But of course these echoes are distant and Dear Forbidden do their best to add their own poppy spin to things as they do on the yin and yang of schizophrenic rock and pop of “Suzy Sighed,” which slips from elegant jangle pop to dark and torrid on a dime and singer Gina Cardillo’s vocals go right along with it.
Dear Forbidden has a knack for blending pop with grunge, something that seems easy to pull off, though bands rarely do it well. “Attention Whore” is the quintessential grunge rock ballad, moving from slow and clean melodies to slow and dirty melodies seamlessly. Above it all Cardillo’s soft but heart striking vocals hit their target. The five-and-a-half minute “Sleeping Alone” is another standout for this reason.
Its catchy slow grooves slip effortlessly into dirty peals of grunge, as Cardillo weaves in her heartfelt metaphors with the aplomb of someone tossing a cigarette butt into the street. The closing track “Neon Light” is a slow and jazzy bit built around a solid bass groove, but it keeps the keeps the fuzz nicely locked away in the background, so that it is heard but never overpowers “Neon Light.”
Dear Forbidden could have easily turned Glitter & Dissonance into a full-on grunge pop with faster tempos and endless waves of feedback. But I’m glad they didn’t. Their restraint has led to a handful of well-crafted and finely nuanced alt rock. Glitter & Dissonance is definitely worth checking out.
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