Kirsten O'Brien/The AS Review
The members of Anacortes-based indie rock band The Lonely Forest have probably been anything but lonely lately.
The band has been causing a stir throughout the Northwest music scene, and its albums have garnered attention from The Stranger, KEXP-FM and Bellingham’s own What’s Up! Magazine. The band is currently on a nationwide tour, playing their melodic indie pop from coast to coast and everywhere in between.
The quartet is making a stop in Bellingham for a show in the Viking Union Multipurpose Room on Oct. 22. The show starts at 9:30 p.m. and features Mt. Vernon-based opening band The Mission Orange. Tickets are $5 for students with ID or $7 for general admission.
Sam Eisen-Meyers, ASP Pop Music coordinator, said that he hopes The Lonely Forest’s show will be an opportunity to add variety and diversity to the types of acts that ASP Pop is bringing to Western this year. After this year’s kick-off Macklemore show, Eisen-Meyers wanted to continue showcasing local artists who are making an impact on the national scene.
“The Lonely Forest show will give a totally different audience a chance to appreciate a different eclectic approach to music, which includes certain elements of folk, “indie rock” singer/songwriter technique and companionship,” said Eisen-Meyers. “With the support of colleges, local radio stations and venues and clubs across the country, I was hoping to utilize this show to lend a helping hand to their passions and dreams.”
The band released its first album, Regicide, in 2006, and has consistently released albums since. Death Cab for Cutie’s Chris Walla produced the band’s newest album, The Lonely Forest EP, on his label imprint, Trans. A recent KEXP-FM review said the album has “a surging, anthemic indie-rock sound and contains some of the band’s finest songs to date.”
The single from the album, titled “Turn Off This Song and Go Outside,” is a perfect representation of the band’s sound. Delicate piano melodies combined with sweeping ballads and the occasional guitar and drum solo create a sound that is friendly and approachable. The lyrics are honest and heartfelt, urging the listener to “turn off this song, you can listen to it later.” At first that may seem like a strange thing for a young band to suggest, but their sound is so infectious that you can’t help but resist their orders.
Perhaps the best thing about The Lonely Forest’s sound is their honesty. Their song “Live There,” which is available on the band’s MySpace, shows that no matter how big the little band from Anacortes gets, they’ll always stay true to their Northwest roots. The song begins with a melodic drum and bass intro, which is somewhat reminiscent of Death Cab for Cutie’s song, “We Looked Like Giants.” The song steadily builds to the chorus, which reads like a letter to a lover from long ago. Except in this case, John Van Deusen, the band’s lead singer, isn’t talking about his high school sweetheart or current crush, he’s talking about the good old Pacific Northwest.
“I just want to live here, love here and die here,” he proclaims.
“Give to me miles of tall evergreens and the smell of the ocean and a cool mountain breeze, won’t you please.”
The earnest and honest-to-goodness appreciation for all things Northwest would put a smile on any Seattleite’s face, and maybe make those who haven’t experienced what the Evergreen State has to offer a little envious. The Pacific Northwest may have a reputation as being overcast and over-caffeinated in general, but The Lonely Forest has created an anthem for all those who know that there is more to life here than rainy days and Starbucks lattes.
Be sure to arrive early to catch The Mission Orange’s opening set. The Mt. Vernon-based duo creates thundering indie rock that compliments The Lonely Forest’s more melodic style. Together, both bands are an excellent showcase of talent in the Northwest music scene.