The bio of indie rock five-piece Fort Lean promises not only that a lean fort exists, but that the weather there is “perfect all the time.” This chasing of ideals –the dream of an idyllic and economic fort, for one– sustains the four tracks of their new EP, Change Your Name, every second piece together to make for a maximally pleasant experience. At times, frontman Keenan Mitchell’s vocals remind of the Walkmen’s jangly rock, while the guitars hit ’80s super-pop bravado, and the rhythms push at surfy warmth.
The pairing of bubbly bass upper cuts and sublimely wobbly surf guitar on “All The Lights” splays out like a lithe sun-bather. The high-speed highwire of “Envious”, on the other hand, races along on guitar distortion and pummeled tom rolls, bleached harmony vocals floating off the back of the mix. The set’s sole gritty element is an overblown guitar solo in the midst of the otherwise summer sun drenched “The Mall”. “So take me to the mall/ I want to walk from end to end/ and pierce my ears,” Mitchell begins, before revealing his true intent: “I want to walk away/ and pretend that you’re not here.”
The brief EP closes out on the waltzy ballad “Do You Remember Me”, which, despite the tempo and time signature change, doesn’t alter the band’s sound much. They’ve spent so much time perfecting the ultimately breezy good-time pop rock sound that its hard to break out of it. While that doesn’t cause too much of a problem over the span of four songs, one has to wonder whether this too-same composition will carry over to a potential full-length.
Essential Tracks: “The Mall”, “Envious”