Forever Hasn't Happened Yet
The Music Box's #8 album of 2005
First Appeared in The Music Box, May 2005, Volume 12, #5
Written by John Metzger
X stormed out of Los Angeles in the late 1970s and redefined American rock ínĎ roll by casting a raging, punk-infused shadow upon the face of the formatís old-time folk- and country-leaning roots. It certainly couldnít have been much of a surprise, then, when the band spawned an acoustic-driven offshoot of itself in The Knitters or that its principal songwriter John Doe would continue to mine similar traditionalist territory throughout his alt-country-inflected solo career. His latest effort Forever Hasnít Happened Yet continues this trend, although this time he takes a slightly different approach by delving further into blues-oriented fare than he ever has dared to go in the past. Recorded in a mere two weeks and with a sketchy game plan at best, the album exudes an urgency that long has been missing from Doeís work, making the 11-track collection his most stirring outing in years.
Although it boasts an array of guest appearances by the likes of Neko Case, Grant Lee Phillips, and Dave Alvin, to name a few, Forever Hasnít Happened Yet isnít nearly as cluttered as most star-studded efforts tend to be. Instead, the collaborations largely provide atmosphere and texture, thereby serving to augment rather than supplant Doeís sad-eyed reflectiveness. On Twin Brother, for example, he walks a line that straddles Bruce Springsteen in full folk regalia and Jim Morrison at his most haunting, but when Phillips adds his voice to the mix, the duo invokes the bittersweet harmonic beauty of the Everly Brothers. Despite its acoustic guitar-driven chug, Ready is whipped into a furiously frothy frenzy that deals with both death and drug addiction, and Kristen Hersh only amplifies its ominous ambience with her untethered and violently trembling vocal accompaniment. On the heady, Wilco-meets-Roy Orbison swirl of Your Parade, Cindy Lee Berryhill lurks quietly in the background like a disconnected lover whose only response is to echo Doeís somber, heartbroken sentiments. Touching upon themes of sex, drugs, alienation, and death, thereís little doubt that Forever Hasnít Happened Yet has an element of angered punk rock coursing through its veins. Yet, within the pained memories of the past, there lies an aura of hope for the future, which explains why the songs seem to pour from Doe as if his life depended upon them.
Of Further Interest...
Forever Hasn't Happened Yet is available
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2005 The Music Box