By: Derek Spencer
There are moments of Ashland Avenue in which I decided I was enjoying the EP: notably the bridge of “Movement”, most of “Breaching the Peace”, and the verse of “Bound to Fall” before repetition degrades its focused disconcertion. But in the waning age of emo revival, one At The Drive-In imitator is really only as good as the next. Forgotten Tropics are kind of like your grandma that sends you a hilarious meme years after it stopped being funny, or like a meal of delicious tacos directly following a whole week of eating only delicious tacos: good content, bad timing.
If your goal is to do something a lot of people are also currently doing, you better do it fucking perfectly. This is Forgotten Tropics‘ failure. The production wavers between the “gritty, evocative amateur studio” sound and the “just an amateur studio” sound. The lyrics, when discernible, are trite and unmoving (if I never hear a song with the line “I gotta get out of this town” again, It will be too soon). The album lacks thematic ingenuity; it’s named after a street in the band’s hometown and features a picture of the band, presumably sitting in their apartment on Ashland Ave.
Again, none of this is to say Ashland Avenue is bad– it’s good music made by young musicians who should probably keep making music. Forgotten Tropics are at their best when they dive into noisey or funky tangents, experimenting with tone in viscerally appealing ways. They lay out compelling rhythms and pull off complex transitions and I liked hearing all of that. It’s just that I’m pressed to find a reason to ever revisit this EP when there are other bands, genre-founding bands and contemporary acts alike, that simply do it better.