Virgin Forest – Easy Way Out [Album Review]

by Woody on January 17, 2012

I first heard of Virgin Forest a couple months ago when I saw Deer Tick in Chicago. John McCauley was sporting a Virgin Forest tee and, being the sophomoric 41 year old that I am, it made an impression. And really, who wouldn’t want to visit a forest comprised of virgins?

As luck would have it, something came from their PR machine the next day and I saw the word Phosphorescent written somewhere there on my phone. I consider myself to be a bit of a Phosphorescent fan and upon listening to track, I found instant gratification.

Turns out the connection to Phosphorescent is that the four dudes in Virgin Forest comprise 4/5 of Phosphorescent – minus that lead guy Matthew Houck. Phosphorescent is aces in my books and they absolutely kill it live, so musicianship isn’t something I questioned when giving Virgin Forest a listen. How bout the vocals and songwriting? I spent some considerable time with their debut, Joy Atrophy, as I waited for my copy of Easy Way Out to arrive. Sold.

Like Phosphorescent, the music is extremely tight and there is more than a hint of twang in there. Easy Way Out is 10 tunes long and clocks in at an economic 26 minutes. The songs are like quick jabs as lead singer Scott Stapleton leads the foursome through.

Like Partisan label mates Deer Tick, Virgin Forest aren’t afraid to crank up the gear and let it rip. “Get Away” and the title track see them release the hand brake, but it’s the twangy cosmic country efforts like “Big Old Mama” and “Home Alone” that really allow Virgin Forest to relax and shine. That could be due to the couple of years backing Houck while supporting To Willie and Here’s To Taking It Easy, but Virgin Forest doesn’t need to rely on Phosphorescent to gain credibility or John McCauley as president of their street team. Easy Way Out stands on its own and I’m sure their live performance will be an experience. Look for the album on January 31st.

Virgin Forest – Don’t Be Afraid

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