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The Final Curtain

  • reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2007 1 Apr
The Final Curtain
Sounds like … the emo-charged modern rock of Anberlin, Mae, Taking Back Sunday, and to some extent, Dashboard Confessional.At a glance … while the acoustic tracks and early recordings are nice, the final concert is poorly performed and recorded, making this a disappointing conclusion to the brief-but-impressive run of Further Seems Forever.Track Listing Moon Is Down (live)
The Sound (live)
Someone You Know (live)
New Year's Project (live)
Light Up Ahead (live)
The Bradley (live)
Make It a Part/All Rise (live)
Bleed (live)
For All We Know (live)
Wearing Thin (live)
Pagan Poetry (unreleased)
Bleed (acoustic)
Light Up (acoustic)
Make It Apart (acoustic)
Just Until Sundown (27th Street Sessions)
Justice Prevails (27th Street Sessions)
New Year's Project (27th Street Sessions)
Pictures of a Shoreline (27th Street Sessions)
The Bradley (27th Street Sessions)

I've been a fan of Further Seems Forever since their 2001 debut, but you can only say goodbye so many times. Two previous lead vocalists, including Chris Carrabba (Dashboard Confessional), have bid farewell over the band's history. And when news hit that they were calling it quits in 2006, they offered the comprehensive retrospective Hope This Finds You Well as a parting gift.

Now Further Seems Forever gives us one last sendoff through The Final Curtain, a CD/DVD combo that captures the band's final show in Atlanta, plus additional unreleased tracks. Unfortunately, they should have quit while they were ahead—this is one goodbye too many.

The concert's the problem. It might have played well in person, but simply does not translate to disc. Production values are so-so at best, with a rough sound mix and home-video quality camera work. The band's performance seems off at times—"Moon Is Down" is especially sloppy. And though Jon Bunch sounds terrific on the Hide Nothing album, the singer seems out of his league here, out of breath on "New Year's Project," letting the audience handle most of the high parts, and missing notes throughout the set. The fact he sounds so good on the softer, acoustic "For All We Know" suggests it's difficult to compete with the band's wall of sound.

Contrast that portion with the older 27th State Sessions featuring Carrabba, which are also somewhat rough around the edges, but considerably tighter sounding. Their previously unreleased cover of Björk's "Pagan Poetry" is demo quality, resembling the campy neo-metal of The Darkness, and the terrific acoustic tracks will be familiar to those with the special edition of Hide Nothing. Some of this will strike a chord with diehard fans still mourning the band's end. But frankly, this collection is not the way I want to remember Further Seems Forever's music. It's raw in every sense of the word: real, unpolished, and undercooked.

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