Hearing Aid: “All Souls Day” by The Forms


Queens duo, The Forms, known for their experimental indie sound, are back with another new single, the odd sounding, “All Souls Day”, an ode to the remembrance party of the same name.

The group released their first two albums with legendary producer Steve Albini, who had previously worked with lighting rods like Nirvana and PJ Harvey. “All Souls Day” is The Forms’ third release this year after more than a decade without new music. Their latest feature film, The forms, was released in 2007.

“All Souls Day” centers on a mesmerizing riff played on a steel bass. The echoing, hard-hitting instrument, masterfully played by Matt Walsh, creates a disturbing sound. This is perfect for their psychedelic indie rock brand, as the steel pan feels like another world like a synth but as painfully human as a banjo. Vocalist Alex Tweens, the high, whispered vocals balance the instrument with alien quality. The tweens described the trail as

a strange dark meditative soundscape of a quiet apocalypse.

The clip for the track, shot in a remote field of The Catskills, is eerie and sensory. The cattails brush against the camera lens and the pollen scatters like gold specks in the wind. When night falls and a thick mist settles on the plateau, you almost feel the cold. The atmospheric video matches the song so perfectly that creepers even float to the beat of Tweens’ delicate piano.

As Tweens also pointed out, the track is a “wild change of mood” from their other recent releases. Their exultant comeback single, “Southern Ocean”, made fun-loving apathy on a summery, bouncy beat. Their latest release “Head Underwater” leans heavily on the coveted indie-pop formula of the late 2000s of classic ’90s riffs and synths. Tween described the track as

the most purely joyous song The Forms has ever made.

The fun and upbeat nature of the two records is a far cry from the sterile soundscape of “All Souls Day”. But, again, summer is over and existentialism no longer looks like a beach game.

The Day of the Dead, celebrated annually on November 2, is a day of prayer and remembrance for deceased worshipers, observed primarily by Roman Catholics and other Christian denominations.

On the song, Tweens sings about spending the day floating in a river:

Now I have come here / In a state of mind / One that I will never forget.

The meditative lyrics on the ever-echoing steel pan transport you directly into that floating and questioning state. The effect is sonically stunning and emotionally resonating, letting you know it’s going to be a party of the dead that you won’t soon forget.

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