The ’80s synth and angular guitar riffs of Bump’s “Everyone Knows” almost make this Detroit-based band sound something like Oasis meets generic jam band meets Don Henley. Forward overflows with twinkling keyboards, emo lyrics and pop hooks, though it all feels more on the order of a bland CW soundtrack—“One Tree Hill,” or “Gossip Girl”—than anything even ironically engaging.
“Darker Version of Me” proves the quartet can harmonize, but “Back Door” uncovers the bands mostly vapid and clunkily rhymed lyrics as in, “And I don’t mind squeezin’ on your hand so tight, and I wish I could say that it would all turn out alright. Late in the night, lookin’ for your light. Keep it cool, just a fool…” “Disconnected” festers with the same awkward lines, though the idea of being disconnected works well here since you can appreciate the instrumental deftness and still not feel anything.
The musicians clearly know how to play and Yorg Kerasiotis’ warbles with enough prettiness and enough edge to make his vocals gorgeous. Problem is, most of the angst and passion on Forward seems manufactured, or at least doesn’t seep through the overly careful composition, which makes this album destined more for box store-dom than anywhere remotely independent. (Erika Fredrickson)
Bump plays the Girl Talk after party at the Elks Lodge Thursday, Feb. 19, with Delta Function at 9 PM. $5.