Greenpoint, Brooklyn’s Fort Lean only had an EP out when the band played at CMJ 2011, but following that appearance, the group was marked as being “already a standout.” The band followed its 2011 EP with this year’s Sunsick 7″ on Neon Gold, and now comes the self-released Change Your Name EP.
Opening the EP with the slow, ballad-reminiscent “Do You Remember?,” the track appears affiliated with vocalist Keenan Mitchell’s hair-metal hairdo, as well as several classic rock anthems of the ’70s and ’80s, among the likes of “Keep On Loving You” by REO Speedwagon and Boston’s “More Than A Feeling.” With its several oohs and wailing guitar solos, the classic rock-influence on “Do You Remember?” is unmissable. Similarly, the EP’s ending track, “All The Lights,” displays those similar characteristics proudly, with Mitchell crooning coolly to the listener lyrics dripping with sugary sweet romanticism: “When all the lights go on at once/I wanna be there to see you.”
Fort Lean’s venturing into unexplored auditory waters can be seen on “The Mall” and “Envious,” where the band incorporates hand claps alongside Mitchell’s bouncy vocals. This gives the tracks an indie-pop tinge contrasting Fort Lean’s predominantly hair-raising garage-rock sound. Hand claps aside, the two songs are the most indie rock-oriented of the EP, although “Envious” proves to be more closely affiliated with the debut EP stylistically. Possessing the surfer vibe of fuzzy, distorted guitar strums and strained vocal wails, “Envious” replicates the original sound that dominated Fort Lean’s first EP and brought the band its well-deserved attention.