Future Loves Past. In the timespan of a year they have gone from being a band that made me smirk with the potential I saw in them to a full on revolution of sight, sound and mindblowing kinetic ferocity–they have exceeded the potential I saw by many lengths and no matter how many times I see them live I am moved by them, physically prompted to dance and left in amazement as the hazy daze they create dissipates with the final tones of their set still reverberating in the air. They have a way of controlling the vibe in the room and turning otherwise reticent onlookers into frothing, frenzied fans within the span of a set, they turn heads and ears their way and in the end, newcomers are bewildered and fascinated by what they’ve just witnessed, long time fans are satified with their fix and the crowd, young or old, virgin or veteran is always left wanting more, with consistent cries of “Encore, encore.”
It must be said though, that it’s not just that their live show is good–and in fact it’s great, it’s well beyond good–or that their presence is perfect, and it is, the sum of their parts creates an undeniable entity that consumes every ear, eye and soul in the room, but the truth comes down to this: their songwriting is just that damn good, their talents as musicians, singers and songwriters are unworldly and they’ve tapped into a sound that is as timely as it is anachronistic, organic yet somehow supernal, owing as much to rock’n'roll as it does to folk, soulful funk and psychedelic Americana. It is this blend of music, somehow translated into their signature sound that can recall Caribbean rhythms, reggae guitar, funky soul, country leanings, jam band curiosities and touches of British Invasion mod rock. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard a band touch on so many influences, without denying the identity of the band or the groove which is their sound, and their sound is unmistakable.
At the end of September, Future Loves Past let loose their debut EP to stream online at their Bandcamp site, for free–the first taste is often free, and in this case, like their live shows the recordings leave you wanting more. It streams for free because this is music you will want to own, it won’t be enough to know where to stream it from, you’ll want to have it in some form another, something to hold and play whenever your whim demands it. Believe me, after a listen or two, your whim WILL demand it. The recordings, if nothing else prove that not only is Future Loves Past a live band to reckon with on stage, but they’ve got their chops in the studio and the very energy they cultivate at the venue easily translates to the recordings made in the studio. This four song debut EP is a fairly amazing collection that represents their talents well and gives one the hopeful sense that this is only the beginning of a long ascending journey for this multi-talented band.
The EP opens with “Earth” which has to be maybe the best song laden with a semi-hippy aesthetic written in over twenty years—it is a song of amazing infectious perfection that just won’t quit your soul–it’s almost an insurmountable task to shake it from your head after you give it a listen. “I don’t want to go chasing after silhouettes, I got to save my strength for my decisions,” it begins and with jangly guitar, swirling guitar and some of the most heavenly vocals you’ll find in recent history. A song of grounded self-determination, it’s almost an anthem of following ones on folly, for good or ill, chance and opportunity, shadow and light, overtly optimistic, while realistic about have to see through life’s “bad decisions.” Amidst the lyrics there is no lack of intuitive wisdom and a keen sense of self awareness, while the instrumental bridge will blow your mind and the swirling psychedelic pastiche of the finale will leave you soul dizzy from the heights it’s just achieved inside a near six minute song.
“Mean Love” follows in its wake, dressed as a dreamy 70s style pop musing it features a hypnotic guitar line and heavenly percussion that leads to the even dreamier lyrics, “Cause I live in a dream, I’m just a young one, that doesn’t mean it’s not love for a little while.” Once more there is much wonderment going on in the multi-instrumental angelic alignment that you can spend entirely different experiences listening to only the music as it envelops your entire being or follow the lyrics which strike quite a contrast in both tone and barbed wit to the celestial backdrop they paint behind the words. The title alone gives away their hand a bit, but it’s not until many listens that the full impact of the song as a whole, the music and the vocals as one entity, will dawn upon you like smiling lightning crackling through your skull. “Here I am again, waiting for the tides to change again.” On this EP there isn’t a song under five minutes and this is one of the longer numbers, but on of Future Loves Past’s greatest tricks is wrapping you up so much in their music that you could swear it was only a three minute number and you want a few minutes more to spend inside that doorway to their cyclonic, whirlwind world.
I am not usually a fan of long songs, I’m a fan of the three minute statement, yet somehow, one of my favorites is the longest on the entire affair. “Mountain” is laid back Americana at its best and one of the best slow burning, building numbers that climaxes into an absolute manic tumult that I’ve heard. It’s a stand out track for simply how different, and slow going to start, it is from the other songs offered here. There’s more than a touch of Grateful Dead vibe here, not in a spacey twenty minute epic way, but a perfect Workingman’s Dead era sensibility, though it could just as easily be the combination of country, folk, psychedelia and rock that drives much of their work. Just past halfway through, amazing Beach Boy-esque harmonies begin and creates a bridge to the ensuing mania as it veers off the tracks with “Don’t you say hi, just run away it’s been too long.” While it is slightly truncated here (live this is often quite extended and grows faster like a locomotive out of control), it builds once more to the final crescendo assault of “She is standing on the highest mountain, she is looking me square.” There is no moment here without calculated brilliance.
The EP finishes with the decidedly pop skewed “Outsiders” flourishing with as much 60s psychedelic pop influences and Indie rock turns as it could fit into one song, it shows yet another side to their sound. The keyboards and sound affects keep it sounding modern and yet take you in and out of different spaces, in short this song is decidedly consistent in pitch but places the listener into a million different fits and finds its self, literally all over the place–much to the songs benefit, which is a difficult task at best to compose a number of such wide scope. Not to mention “Outsiders” features heavenly ascending vocals and amazing harmonies, with a finale that leaves your mind hanging in ephemeral space.
Over the last month, or more precisely, the last four Wednedays at Long Wong’s in Tempe, Future Loves Past have been celebrating this EP for all it’s worth, releasing a limited run of each song as a unique CD single, $3 each for the first 25 attendees to claim them. This, like the EP itself and the songs themselves, have only been the build up to the real event which is the penultimate release party for this release. Be sure to check them out in all their splendor on December 3rd at the Sail Inn for their official release party, where their 4 song debut will be physically released on Vinyl and CD in an amazing package deal that night! There are only 400 copies pressed at this time, so show up early, because I’m sure you’d hate to be the 401st person through the door and the first to be told that the records are all gone. Indeed the festivities begin early, 4pm to be exact, but the rewards are more than worth the arrival time. The release party will go all night, it has to since there are fourteen bands scheduled to perform, including Banana Gun, The Dellinger Feist, Dr. Bones, Dry River Yacht Club, Flamingo, Japhy’s Descent, Mergence, The Muddy Moneys, Quick Henry, St. Ranger, Wizards Of Time, Wooden Indian, 88 MPH and, of course, Future Love’s Past. This is not an event to be missed in any capacity and it looks like it will be the last epic, record release show for a year that has had more than its fair share of epic record release shows.