Forebrace are a new quartet from Alex Ward (clarinet), Jem Doulton (drums), Roberto Sassi (electric guitar), and Santiago Horro (electric bass). ‘Bad Folds’ is a great introduction to the group. It kicks off with the Beefheart-like intensity of Presage’ which confounds attempts to follow its briefly straight lines, a racing and thunderous opener. Other highlights include ‘Groundmass’ with washes of cymbal, deep wobbling bass groans approaching and receding, and gusts of feedback. Also, ‘Rejected Testimony’; a rusted metal throbbing structure, the guitar spraying hot lead in all directions, a freak out between slow punishing riffs; the bass a pulse of cool dread, Jem Doulton’s drums carrying everyone forward at a plodding processional pace.
With ‘Bad Folds’ Alex Ward continues to solder together improvisation, free-jazz, and the outer limits of rock in fine fashion, highlighting the essential qualities of all and melting them together to form a sound both alchemical and vital. ‘Bad Folds’ packs the exploration, fire, and insistent violence of all three approaches into one multi-faceted explosion, working effectively as a long continuous suite or discrete punkish units. It aligns with Shellac as much as it does any avant ensemble. The album has a structure and complex order, straining to contain passages of free flowing and glorious disorder, much like Alex Ward’s recent debut of his ‘Glass Shelves and Floor’. This album continues a mission that can also be glimpsed in the brilliant ‘The Game Face’ by Dead Days Beyond Help.Purchase the album here.