Release Date: Mar 4, 2016
Record label: No Quarter
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
Chris Forsyth has spent a discography exploring the seemingly endless traditions and tones of the guitar. He experiments but always seemingly in the search of new structures. Since joining forces with the Solar Motel Band, ever since the tour for his 2013 Solar Motel album, Forsyth and the band have been working their way through the rock n’ roll tradition, from the ever-expanding cycles off Solar Motel to the grand yet taut compositions on Intensity Ghost.
Ten years ago, Chris Forsyth was a very different type of guitar player. As a member of the Brooklyn trio PSI (later Peeesseye), he traded in scratches and scrapes — abstract and confrontational tones that punctuated the group's eerie improvisations. Their shows involved a certain amount of shock and awe, particularly when murmurs turned to shrieks and moody drones gave way to shrill distortion.
When Chris Forsyth talks about studying with Richard Lloyd, the guitarist and founding member of Television, he talks about learning “grammar.” Forsyth was still in the foundational stage of his own guitar playing in the days when he would meet Lloyd in Midtown for a lesson before heading to his day job at a cafe. Lloyd’s lessons are known for their focus on the hard math of how music works: the ratios, the sequences, the proportions. But for Forsyth, it apparently felt linguistic, too, as if he’d been watching conversations going on around him — like the rambling-junkie exchanges between Lloyd and Tom Verlaine on Marquee Moon — and was finally learning how to chime in.
On his second studio album co-credited to the Solar Motel Band, former Peeesseye guitarist Chris Forsyth sprawls out while penning some of his most melodic, accessible songs. Joined here by bass guitarist Peter Kerlin, additional guitarist Nick Millevoi, drummer Steven Urgo, and keyboard player Shawn E. Hansen, along with a few guests, Forsyth combines the rustic with the cosmic, showing focus and restraint on the more rootsy songs and branching out on the lengthier jams, particularly on the album's second disc.
Chris Forsyth is a certain kind of rock guitar player: a stickler with limitations, a scrappy and mystical historian. He cares about tone and song form, and invests heavily in the long solo. But he is not a virtuoso, and he keeps aggression and chaotic noise close at hand. His music humanizes the element of control in rock classicism, basically.