Forrest Day is both a person and a band from the Bay Area — Day the person is the former lead singer and songwriter for View From Here. Forrest Day the band is an odd duck, combining aspects of hip-hop, melodic post-punk, and orchestral pop. Among the vocal formats Day has mastered are friendly, thoughtful, country-inflected drawl; Scott Walker/Richard Hawley melodrama; and old-school Run-DMC-style rapping.
“Rain, Pain, Sinatra” is a kaleidoscopic trip through a blur of genres: progressive rock bombast, pert-n-perky ska à la They Might Be Giants, irreverent, lyrically witty Dylan-esque rant. Day sings the darkly wry “(You’re/I’m) Dead Now” in a measured, comforting tone most singers would reserve for romantic devotion. “F.U.L.U.” is a wistful, rolling Neil Young-like love song with an ironically tender “Fuck you/Love you” chorus. The oddly bucolic “Oakland Horizon” is driven by a cheerfully agitated strumming guitar lead that’d be right at home on a Feelies album or U2’s Boy, Day’s clear, yearning voice full of the melodious earnestness of early-1980s Bono and Ian McCulloch. “Blackness” and “Cough” revisit the cheery grind of Eighties synth-pop (think Kraftwerk, OMD), while “Gain” has the playfully furious thrash tempo of Black Flag and some chunky funky Chic-like guitar.
What sets The Second apart from many hip-hop (and permutations thereof) platters is Day’s vocal quality — namely, he has lots, resorting to (gasp) singing harmoniously. Originality? Not much, but enthusiasm, tunefulness, and variety? Plenty. (self-released)