Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tuen- The Living Sound

The Living Sound
Rosebuds Records

Tuen, roughly translated into “Love” in Vietnamese consists of John Holden Forrest on vocals, guitars, keyboards and percussions, Ben Belin on drums and percussions, and Kacy Ray on bass. The Living Sound released in 2005 is the first full length CD for the Austin alternative rockers.
The first track entitled, “Trying to Achieve,” begins a rhythmic guitar riff which is promptly interrupted by a whistle and joined by Forrest’s almost forced raspy vocals. Sounding like a dryer more alternative version of progressive rockers Umphrey's Mcgee, Tuen’s tracks encompass a funky jam element. The fourth track, “Friends,” is about Forrest’s kindergarten friendship with best friend Simon as depicted by the linear notes. A bass heavy song, the track is suggestive of a carefree juvenile experience---“I don’t care about tomorrow; I just want to stay with you and dance away all my troubles.” The track, “Beautiful Things She Said,” is a rollercoaster of down-tempo and upbeat progressions that range in both instrumental levels and vocals. Commencing in almost a whisper, Forrest’s vocal range reaches a plateau midway but quickly alters to fit the tempo of the song. The album features two bonus tracks which are not listed on the album’s track list and un-named due to a failure in my iTunes inability to connect to the internet. The funky alt album is great for a hang out at home with friends slinging beers soiree.

The album cover features vintage black and white stamps from all over the world varying in values; some of the stamps have been post-marked. Images of horses, athletes, flowers, old-fashioned buggies, multi-sail boats and Wright brother-esque airplanes make up the stamp designs. Most of the stamps include the name San Marino, the world’s oldest republic. The band’s name is displayed in small, red digital font on the lower right side. A picture of the band mates clad in long sleeve collared shirts graces the backside of the CD. Inside the insert is a black and white photo of the trio among two art pieces on the other pages done by Cray, a single name that listed on the outer left of the Thank yous. Song symbolism and meanings are included on the back of the second and front of the last page. A color photo of Forrest and Belin rocking out graces the posterior of the insert.