Hearing Aide: “All Souls Day” by The Forms

Queens duo, The Forms, known for their experimental indie sound, have returned with another new single, the eerie-sounding, “All Souls Day,” an ode to the celebratory day of remembrance of the same name.

The band released their first two albums with legendary producer Steve Albini, who had previously worked with lighting rods like, Nirvana and PJ Harvey. “All Souls Day,” is the third release from The Forms this year after over a decade without any new music. Their last full-length, The Forms, was released in 2007. 

“All Souls Day” centers on a hypnotizing riff played on a bass steel pan. The echoey and percussive instrument, as played masterfully by Matt Walsh, creates an ominous sound. It’s perfect for their psychedelic brand of indie rock, as the steel pan feels otherworldly like a synth yet as painfully human as a banjo. Vocalist, Alex Tweens’, high and whispery vocals balance the instrument with an alien quality. Tweens described the track as

a strange dark meditative soundscape of a quiet apocalypse. 

The music video for the track, shot in a remote field in The Catskills, is eerie and sensory. Cattails brush up against the camera lens, and pollen disperses like gold flecks in the wind. When night falls and a thick mist settles over the set, you can almost feel the chill. The atmospheric video matches the track so perfectly the creeping plants even flutter in time with Tweens’ delicate tack piano. 

As Tweens also pointed out, the track is a “wild mood swing” from their other recent releases. Their exultant comeback single, “Southern Ocean,” made apathy sound fun over a bouncy, summery beat. Their latest release “Head Underwater” leans hard into the coveted late 2000s indie-pop formula of classic 90s riffs plus synths. Tween described the track as

the most purely joyful song The Forms have ever done.

The fun, upbeat nature of both records is a far cry from the barren soundscape of “All Souls Day.” But, then again, summer is over and existentialism no longer feels like a beach game.

All Souls Day, celebrated annually on November 2nd, is a day of prayer and remembrance for the faithful departed, observed mainly by Roman Catholics and other Christian denominations.

On the song, Tweens sings of spending the day floating in a river:

Now I’ve come here/ In a state of mind/ One I’ll never forget.

The meditative lyrics over the ever-echoing steel pan transport you right to that floating, questioning state. The effect is sonically beautiful and emotionally resonant, letting you know that this will be an All Souls Day you won’t forget anytime soon. 

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