Having established the group, over two previous albums, as rough’n’ready urban inheritors of a rural folk-blues tradition – sort of an Americana Pogues – Boggs’ principal songwriter Jason Friedmansidelined the band, following 2003’s Stitches.
Recorded intermittently over the intervening years, Forts suggests his eye may have been off the ball too long: instead of the gritty enthusiasm of those early records, it seems smug and unfocused.
Not only are Friedman’s lyrics mired in the kind of selfregarding autobiographical dialogues that not even his mum would find interesting, but he pointlessly re-invents a series of pop wheels, from Glitterband stomp (“Arm In Arm”) to Fall grind (“Bookends”) and acoustic Clash thrash (“Melanie In The White Coat”).
A baffling disappointment.
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