A Dead Forest Index make haunting music, laconic in its delivery and accomplished in its composition. This EP – “Antique” – is a taste of what’s to come, with an album due in September. Melbourne based Brothers Adam and Sam Sherry are yet another fine example of the quality of music Australia is producing at the moment. Their label website says this is music that will be appreciated by fans of Scott Walker, Einsturzende Neubauten and Dead Can Dance, amongst others; and even if you’re not familiar with those artists, there’s a very good chance you’ll admire the Sherry Brothers’ deceptively complex music.
The guitar and drums on each of the songs are quite simple (on the a capella ‘An New Layer’ they’re non-existent), but the vocal harmonies are both clever and haunting. A Dead Forest Index really do have their own individual style and manage to pull off being quite different and also very good. There is a melancholy, almost a darkness to the songs; very occasionally I can hear hints of Siouxsie and The Banshees and the stark, honest delivery of the late ‘70s, but they still retain a style that is very definitely their own.
The vocals dominate with wonderful harmonies and, on a song like ‘Anchoring The Hands’ sung in part in the round. This must have taken quite some arrangement, but the effort has been worth it as the craft is evident for all to hear. A Dead Forest Index have not sacrificed feeling for technique either; their music is at times really quite moving and haunting in its delivery.
Some production techniques are used to vary the colour of the pieces; for example, the vocals in ‘Turning’ are reverb-heavy over an instrumental drone, the whole song having an eastern feel about it. At other times it’s the arrangements that make the difference; ‘Anchoring The Hands’ begins with indie guitars, drums and vocals, and ends with the aforementioned unaccompanied singing done in the round.
The whole thing shows a young band keen to forge their own pathway and successfully creating their own style, making their mark as an individual and creative unit. This is definitely a band that will make an impact, and who could certainly show some seasoned performers a thing or two. Theirs is thoughtful, well crafted music, and this EP bodes well for the new album.