Making a Joyful (and Beautiful) Noise: Future of Forestry

June 30, 2010 § Leave a comment

Why do so many Christians make bad art? Or more importantly, why do so many Christians make bad art and pass it off as good art?

If I knew I would be a much happier man, because then maybe we could work on creating good art. To be fair, there are plenty of Christians making great art, but they aren’t quite as numerous or prominent as those who top the Christian music charts or have their DVDs sold in Christian bookstores. This leaves the world at large plenty of opportunities to scoff at those artistic endeavors and ignore the Christians making genuinely creative and beautiful things. And quite honestly, there are a lot of Christians who ignore those among them who are making quality art. This should not be so.

Future of Forestry is one of those bands making beautiful music and they should be acknowledged as such. Formed from the remains of Something Like Silas, Future of Forestry is the brainchild of Eric Owyoung and their named is based on a C.S. Lewis poem of the same name. They have released one full-length album entitled Twilight and just released the last of the three EPs that make up the Travel series. Twilight found the band employing more of a straightforward U2-esque style, which has morphed into a more experimental, ethereal brand of rock on the Travel EPs. More on the music later, but what stands out immediately about Future of Forestry is that Owyoung’s lyrics are clearly worshipful and focused on Jesus, but manage to sidestep the many cliches associated with worship music. Contemplative, reflective and poetic his lyrics create an atmosphere of worship that doesn’t rely on repetition or over-stated declarations of praise, a refreshing change from most contemporary worship lyrics.

It’s so hard for me to find bands who combine intelligent, worshipful lyrics with good music, and it makes me wonder why no one plays Future of Forestry songs in their worship services. Are they too metaphorical, too reflective? Are they not safe enough?

Anyway, while Twilight is a very good album with some excellent tracks, the Travel EPs, especially the second one, are filled with moments that take my breath away. This Hour, on Travel I, throws so many instruments through your headphones it’s hard to keep track of them as they drop in and out of each ear. Someday, the closing track on Travel II, has such a sublime chorus of backing vocals it’s difficult not to get caught up in the grandeur of these combined with a majestic string arrangement. But it seems as if almost all of their music has this feel that there is something supernatural lurking just beyond the instruments and vocals. It is a kind of yearning for something bigger and better that can’t be found without a healthy dose of searching.

And that’s what Christian music should do. Give a sense of the divine that propels you to keep going deeper into the wonderful life that God has given you.

http://futureofforestry.com/ (You can listen to full tracks here and read lyrics)

http://www.youtube.com/user/FOFmovies

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