‘’He starts to fall in love/I can’t stand his face/But I like his feel/I’m all over the place’’, confesses Forth Wanderers’ vocalist, Ava Trilling, on one of the highlights on their new record, ‘’Taste’’. Both doubt and a lack of stability are evident in her lyrics, though there’s something additional that differentiates Forth Wanderers from most of their contemporaries; namely, Trilling has the upper hand.
Named after an amateur Scottish football team, an irony that sits well with the introspection in Forth Wanderers’ music, the band’s self-titled second album continues to express the well-worn tropes of their debut, 2014’s gorgeous Tough Love. Slotting them in nicely alongside the likes of Trust Fund, Joanna Gruesome and Camp Cope, the record raises issues of apprehension and a degree of aloofness that fans of theirs and the aforementioned acts exhibit so well. Singles ‘’Not For Me’’, ‘’Ages Ago’’ and ‘’Nevermine’’ are all meticulously arranged, Ben Guterl’s probing guitar lines the lead for Ava Trilling’s pensive vocals.
The songwriting process of Trilling and Guterl, whereby Guterl sends Trilling skeletons of songs musically before Trilling adds lyrics to the guitar’s melody, is indicated by the prominence of Guterl’s performances. The primarily acoustic ‘’Be My Baby’’, the record’s weakest track, aside, Guterl’s guitar drives the songs forward, giving life and direction to Trilling’s reflections.
As a songwriter, Trilling is sincere in her doubts and insecurities. It is in her presentation of herself as, if not in total control, certainly holding most of the cards that makes her distinct. ‘’Nevermine’’ is inspired by an ex-lover still captivated by her, whereas on ‘’Saunter’’, she stands her ground on her sexual escapades, arguing: ‘’You’d say that I get around/I’d say that I’m tightly bound/I think I should let my hair down’’. Most of her insecurities develop from her inability to decide what it is she wants or how to properly confront the way she feels, a different issue than that which most other acts in their genre face.
Lacking some of the resonance that made their debut so endearing, Forth Wanderers is nonetheless a bittersweet and refreshingly candid second record from a band that’s seemingly found its voice.