While some find them pretentious, I am quite the fan of popular art whose story of conception is rooted in abstract existentialist thought… Such is the case of Forest Fire’s third album, Screens… an album whose inspiration was the concept of the screens (both literal and figurative) that fill our postmodern existence and from which we experience the world and also the idea that art itself is a screen of sorts placed between the producer and consumer.  And the album is the NYC band’s finest work yet, exploring sounds reminiscent of the 20th century’s most profound movements, from the spaciest and sparkliest singer/songwriters that would go on to inspire Punk to that moment where Post-Punk began to manifest itself into Britpop and New Wave at its most intellectually detached.  It’s very romantically melancholy, but also quite fun… At times I’m picturing angsty teens slowdancing under a mirror ball, amidst a bevy of Meat is Murder posters.  I recently got a chance to chat with vocalist/songwriter Mark Thresher about the album and its influences and he tells me, “We were listening to a lot of Kraftwerk and Joy Division at the time.”  However, he says that the finished product probably has a lot more to do with the writing and recording process than any musical influences.  The band got a chance to work with a proper engineer (Jonathan Schenke) in a studio for the first time, which Thresher thinks had the most to do with the recent evolution of their sound: “Certainly being allowed to record our record in a studio with proper gear and microphones.  Our previous records we made over the course of months and months and we didn’t really have a comfortable place to write and record, but we didn’t have any focus time to sit down and think about a record.”

*Screens is out Tuesday, September 10th, on Fatcat Records.