From her 2012 debut Your Sister to 2017’s Forgotten Pleasures, it’s been a long journey for the Manchester artist and an even longer one for her fans.
Released March 3rd, 2017, BMG.
For those who were listening to Findlay back during the release of her Off & On EP, released by Joyeux Anniversaire Records, it seemed that an LP was only around the corner. Loaded with fuzz and the raw energy of her debut single, an LP in 2014 from Findlay most likely wouldn’t have sounded how Forgotten Pleasures does. Now signed to BMG, Findlay’s fuzz is more clearly announced and apparent, rather than being questionable as to whether it’s actually reverb or just a bad recording.
Similarly to Sundara Karma’s debut back in January, Forgotten pleasures is littered with singles from the past four years (Off & On, Greasy Love, Electric Bones, Junk Food and the most recent Waste My Time), but equally so, the use of Findlay’s strongest releases plays in her favour rather than simply trying to grab the attention of previous fans.
The first ‘real’ taste of Forgotten Pleasures comes from the third track in, Stuck In Your Shadow, which arguably could have had the role of album opener over Electric Bones, however, it does act as a powerful predecessor to the following track Greasy Love. Stuck In Your Shadow is as traditionally Findlay as possible, balancing a series of pop influences, her signature indie-pop-rock sound while also giving a slight nod to her dual microphone use from previous releases.
Her dual microphone use is most prominent on Greasy Love, as those who’ve seen Findlay live will be familiar with her vocal switching. The overall impact of Greasy Love is that of Kelly from the San Junipero episode of Black Mirror. Those who are accustomed to a timid nature whether in music or general everyday life, are immediately drawn into Greasy Love’s alternative nature, loaded with reverb, grunge influences and a general no fucks given attitude, it’s a shock to those who are unaware of the bold nature of Natalie Rose Findlay.
Thankfully, Findlay doesn’t use Greasy Love as a trophy to display, demonstrating that she can be grunge or alternative, but her’s a standard pop album anyway. No. Forgotten Pleasures is tumultuous, unapologetic and rightfully so.
Findlay doesn’t let this idea overtake her work, that she can’t be both alternative and pop ready at the same time. Following tracks Monomania, Junk Food, Wild & Unwise and Stoned Alone all balance together with the use of pop and alternative rock/indie that Findlay has clearly been honing over the past five years. Each track is displayed in such a free-spirited manner that it’s impossible for them to not penetrate your bones, soul or mind just a little bit.
Monomania’s balance of pianos and deep drum beats are TV ready music in a nutshell, while Junk Food’s punk-esque vibe has festival anthem written all over, easily marking itself as one of Findlay’s best tracks to date.
Similarly, Wild & Unwise is a boisterous monolith of a track, which neither seeks permission nor demands it, but instead, thunders through with roaring drums and guitars while Findlay summons up every ounce of rock spirit she has, before then calming down for the slick and smooth rhythm of Stoned & Alone. A rather unambiguous title that does exactly what it says on the tin, Stoned & Alone balances smooth rock with very slight psych influences towards the latter end of guitar solos that provides Forgotten Pleasures with a moment to breath before immediately charging back in.
The LP carries itself strongly throughout, travelling leisurely along genres that combine at times with others to lead each track successfully to it’s following accomplice. Clearly demonstrating a knowledge for pop and indie music, Findlay structures her work the way that an LP destined for some form of accolation should be, whether it becomes a standout pop hit or a somewhat cult favourite, it’s undeniable that Forgotten Pleasures was made to stand the test of time.
Like previous Manchester acts before her, arguably the LP’s strongest tracks comes from its final offering, the gargantuan Sunday Morning In The Afternoon.
A slow burner that perfectly captures the essence of a Sunday spent watching the sun rise and set above and beneath Manchester’s skyline, Sunday Morning In The Afternoon is an enormous track, which really is the only way to describe it.
Balancing gentle pianos that soon become encased in echoing guitars, the track grows exponentially towards its dramatic ending, crashing in upon itself in such a beautiful fashion, like a once loved building set for demolition, ready to become something even more beautiful. Sunday Morning In The Afternoon leaves nothing left behind that could have been said by Forgotten Pleasures, answering the question as to whether Findlay can create a track that speaks louder than anything she has previously created, with a colossal yes.
From light pop-rock on Electric Bones to the catastrophically beautiful Sunday Morning In The Afternoon; the restraint and precession demonstrated throughout Forgotten Pleasures shows us all an artist who has clearly studied music thoroughly. Realising what she enjoys and what she doesn’t, Findlay has translated this into an album that’s clearly laid out, and made to enjoy rather than over analyse. Simply travelling between the plains of genres rather than catapulting from one extreme to the other in complete disarray, Forgotten Pleasures is just that, an album filled with blasts from the past in the current form of Findlay, that will have lovers of indie and pop music from all generations falling head over heels in love.
Findlay’s debut is a clear marker for success and leaves but one question ready to be answered in the future. Where will she go from here?