Album Review: British India – Forgetting The Future (2017 LP)

I have been a British India fan from the start. I remember playing “Tie Up My Hands” on repeat back in 2007, and since then, I’ve followed their progress and danced in their moshpits in venues and festivals all over Sydney.

To say their sixth album, Forgetting the Future is great is an understatement. Their songwriting has matured – there’s still a couple of songs about bad breakups and bad ex girlfriends, but not as many as on previous albums – and their overall sound has evolved into something tighter and cleaner than ever. The production – provided by Oscar Dawson – really makes this album and is of a higher quality than before.

Lead singer Declan Melia‘s vocal range is stronger, and the expert layering of the guitar riffs over the punchy bass lines and drumming gives those higher energy tracks more urgency.

Opener “Precious” eases us in with a slow guitar riff and vocals before hitting us in the face with a killer hook and onslaught of instruments. Melia pleads: “If everything could stay the same, as it is right now,” before stating “but everything is fucking precious.”

There’s so much going on in this track it’s difficult to know what to tune into. Melia’s vocals repeating “but everything is fucking precious” is the obvious layer but the guitar riff and bass line are playing two different melodies and the harmonised “oooh ooohs” compete for my attention too.

“Midnight Homie” – arguably the catchiest and best track on the whole album – starts by stating “My friends and better than your friends,” before becoming more controversial and current and staying “My God is better than your false God.”

The chorus, “They cannot compare to me,” leads into a huge guitar solo, before falsetto vocals and a hell of a key change. I want to write my whole review about how much I love this song, but I understand this is not interesting for anyone but me, so I won’t.

“Just Sing Like Everybody Else” takes it down a notch, slightly, but still provides another catchy riff and layers of instruments as the last three tracks. “My Love” sounds a little new wave, with its high and quick riff, alongside Melia singing “you don’t what it means to be desperate… my love breaking and entering, my love basically everything.” The guitars play to each other throughout the song – the higher pitched phrase is reminiscent of Prince’s “Kiss” – and the drumming keeps the song at a high pace.

“Kiss Me Again” and “Absolutely Disgusting” takes the mood down a little, only for it to be brought back to peak during “You’re Not The Future.” This track incorporates the same features of earlier tracks on the album – falsetto, high-energy drumming, and guitar riffs that complement each other in every bar – but by the time the chorus comes it feels tired despite its quick pace.

“I Want To Go Where I Can See The Ocean” is the obvious relationship song I mentioned earlier, which has Melia saying he, wants to go where he can see the ocean, wash all his memories, water and sky.’ The track features a harmonised bridge repeating “If we fall down” into the last verse, followed by one last frenzied chorus.

“I Was Looking Back At You To See You Looking Back At Me” rounds out the album and carries the water theme through to the end. Melia repeats “Still I wanted you to look back,” as a final lament in the chorus. There’s no ending on a quiet note on this album – they rock all the way until the end.

Forgetting the Future shows how British India have matured both as songwriters and musicians. Their time together as a band, and their work, is clear in the quality of this album. I cannot wait to see them play these tracks live, and watch the way they weave them into a setlist already full of classic hits.

Review Score: 8.7 out of 10. 

Forgetting the Future is out now.