The leaves are changing, the temperature is dropping, and it’s time to find an album you can put on as you curl up and get ready to hibernate. You don’t need to look far though – you just need to look west.
The new album from Furious Seasons is the band’s fifth, and it’s a departure from their typical folk pop sound. The acoustic concept comes after the group played a series of Southern California shows as a three-piece: David Steinhart and Paul Nelson on acoustic guitar and vocals and Jeff Steinhart on standup bass.
The Furious Seasons Stripped Down
The album’s opening track and lead single, “Longshot,” introduces listeners to the new acoustic sound – as if Elvis Costello were singing over a softened Avett Brothers band. I was captivated by David Steinhart’s beautiful and inspirational melody on the chorus, “We’re not done yet / Not by a longshot / There’s still time left / to work through the soft spots / and turn this around.”
Like the changing of the seasons, much of the album calls for making transitions. Its title, taken from a lyric in the eighth track, “My Terrible Song,” suggests the narrator has decided to take control of his life in a new way. “I start looking west and start wanting more,” he sings.The theme reappears on “Roll Out the Future” when Steinhart says, “Roll out the future / I have no crush on the past,” and when he recalls a breakup on the melancholic track, “Sadly Matched.”
He laments, “I couldn’t make you stay / No, I couldn’t make you stay,” continuing, “I could’ve followed you / but I watched you walk away / cuz darlin’ I’m never leaving L.A.” The struggle between loving a person and loving a place is one of several nods to the band’s hometown, in addition to crashing waves and 80 degree Christmas days.
The album’s instrumentation is complex despite only being comprised of the trio, and Paul Nelson’s swift hand on guitar deserves special recognition. From the nostalgic wandering-a-European-city-late-at-night classical riff to introduce “A Thing to Behold” to the beautiful solo on “Simple and Clean,” his melodies are the pulse of every song.
Even more than the gorgeous guitar, however, it’s the impeccable songwriting and heartfelt lyrics that lift this album up the furthest. Every track on the record is emotionally vulnerable, honest, and accessible. You’ll spend all fall unpacking the layers.
The Furious Seasons just wrapped a Beverly Hills show with British folk legend Donovan. You can learn more about the band on their website and stream look west on Spotify.