Review: A Dead Forest Index, Cast of Lines EP

A Dead Forest Index, Cast of Lines EP (6/2/2014, Pop Noire)

Brotherly duo Adam (guitar, vocals) and Sam (drums, vocals) Sherry – from Aukland, NZ, currently residing in London – comprise A Dead Forest Index.  Their latest, the Cast of Lines EP, was released on London-based Pop Noire – home of the equally arresting (though for much different reasons) Savages.

No review of Cast can get far without recognizing that voice.  A voice that recalls equal parts Nico, Marianne Faithful (younger version) and Billy Mackenzie (just not the falsetto bit). Detached and solitary, yet also dramatic, arresting and present – the voice is the central focus of each of the four tracks.

The arrangements are ethereal, elemental; specifically, water.  Seas, tides, currents – each appears often throughout in the lyrics; their ebb and flow mirrored by the languid power of the music.  Each song builds upon itself, waves of harmony and orchestration added towards crescendo, lapping away at the lyrics until they’re stripped away to a solitary line/phrase, repeated like a mantra.

There are sonic touchstones here – the ethereal openness of early 4AD, the primitive jangle and thump of the Velvet Underground (particularly on “No Paths”).  Similar to Money, there is something spiritual in the overall feel; a lonely, monastic ambience in the empty spaces – self-reflection in the universal.  This record, though, stands on its own as something truly unique.

Highlights include: the immense “Cast of Lines” (video below), “Tide Walks”.

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