The Lonely Forest | Adding Up The Wasted Hours
15 October 2013
By: Meghan Kearney
At some point today, after my third or fourth listen through The Lonely Forest’s fourth full-length album, I realized that John Van Deusen has become one of my favorite vocalists. This growing favoritism started somewhere around four years ago when I saw TLF (for the first time) open up for We Were Promised Jetpacks at Portland’s Doug Fir Lounge. I came for WWPJ but I left with a new TLF EP and what would become a four year strong favorite. In fact, if I recall correctly, I was too busy accosting TLF at their merch booth that evening asking them to be a featured band on what was then Front & Center Rock, that I think I missed half of WWPJ’s entire set. But kind were they ever to the weirdo that was me.
With my new found clarity on how truly poignant and enjoyable Van Duesen’s voice is, I settled into Adding Up the Wasted Hours like a warm bed. The album opens with a rough (dare I call it “ugly” a la Cursive’s The Ugly Organ?) set of strings on “Pull the Pin & Forget.” The track quickly transitions into whirling synth that leverages lyrics beaming of confidence in letting oneself be free. “I’m amazed at the rate at which I levitate; I’m asleep in the clouds.”
The following track, released a couple weeks or so prior to the album, is an immediate catch. Prepare to let “Lovric’s” into your head with no plans to bid it adieu. Skipping on to “Neon Never Changes,” we see a track that seems to showcase a new range for TLF. With an opening, mostly electro, slightly echoed vocals and drum loops give this track about neon, the air of what it must feel like to be neon. The following track has that old TLF feel and is probably going to be a favorite on the record. The lyrics “And it was hard to leave you, without having the time to talk” are emitted out so emotionally that I can’t tell if this song is what Craigslist Missed Connections are made of, or if it’s the story of a painfully destroyed heart.
“Soundings in Fathoms” is another wonderfully, somewhat lo-fi acoustic track screaming of everything to love about this band. “Warm/Happy” sounds like it’s titled; it’s an uplifting, token Pacific Northwest jam somehow seeping of the feeling of just romping around a forest. Full disclosure – I think this a conditioned response to living in the PacNW and listening to TLF over the years. The record ends with “Stars Like Dust,” a powerful, emotional track flowing with more beautifully addictive vocals and instrumentation mirroring those opening strings, that orchestrates to a marvelous close. Putting the quaint, friendly town, of Anacortes, Washington so loved by these hometown heroes on the map, The Lonely Forest has built a record that is not to be missed. If I wasn’t alone in my room, I’d answer the call of the standing ovation Adding Up the Wasted Hours deserves.