The Forest Wall, a project started by Amanda and Derek Salazar in Washington D.C., has released their first EP independently today. The record consists of five original songs, all built around the siblings’ unique voices and distinct knack for interesting instrumentation. The EP opens with “Canon” (the stop-motion video for which can be seen at the bottom of this review), a track that’s full of atmospheric electric guitar work and steady programmed drums. The track is bookended by synthesized melodies that highlight the sparse beauty of the song’s verses and choruses.
“Does it Make a Sound?” is similarly experimental. By far the most energetic song of the set, “Does it Make a Sound?” has big guitar riffs and a shifting arrangement that displays the duos ability to successfully manipulate timing and create interesting rhythmic textures. The song closes with a heavy drumbeat and fading, distorted vocals that are as enjoyable as they are surprising.
The EP mellows with “Spanish Skies,” a haunting duet that showcases each singers’ distinct vocal delivery. Amanda Salazar’s voice is left unaccompanied at the song’s opening, marking the one of the record’s most beautiful and emotional moments.
“Suitcase Son” opens with panned guitars, each panning to the left and right until Derek and Amanda’s voices begin trading lines. The song builds at a slow churn until about the halfway mark when thundering drums and circuital guitar lines mark a climactic turn in the song. After the instrumental break, the duo’s voices return, singing the line “Unpack your suitcase, son, it’s time for you to stay.” This song stands as the centerpiece of the record, a piece that the rest of the tracks build to.
The EP closes with “In The Pines.” The song is left intentionally gritty, retaining a grainy, lo-fi quality. This track again highlights Amanda’s strength as a vocalist, containing the most aggressive vocal delivery on the EP. The track barely breaks the two-minute mark, and serves as an understated close to a more than satisfying record. The Forest Wall shows their limitless potential through this EP, displaying a real passion for their craft. This debut EP is worth listening to not only for the exciting sounds that it contains, but also as an impressive introduction to a group that is bound to release interesting and thoughtful music in the future.
Buy or stream the EP today here, and see a video for The Forest Wall’s “Canon” below: