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Album Review

On Arrows, the Lonely Forest's third full-length album, singer/songwriter/pianist John Van Deusen continues to express his quirky worldview in a reedy tenor occasionally wafting into falsetto, his songs set in classic pop structures even when his keyboard is not the preeminent instrument. Actually, that occurs frequently, as guitars dominate in arrangements that suggest the alternative rock of U2 and R.E.M. Van Deusen, meanwhile, comes off as a son of David Byrne or little brother of Ben Folds, presenting his idiosyncratic impressions, which include "Turn Off This Song and Go Outside," which follows up that piece of advice (for anyone who hasn't yet obeyed it) with the command, "Find someone to love," adding of the song, "you can listen to it later." Those who continue to listen anyway will hear Van Deusen alternate his conflicted impressions of romance in the succeeding songs, "(I Am) The Love Skeptic" and "(I Am) The Love Addict." One thing he is not conflicted about is his affection for his and the band's stomping grounds in the Great Northwest, a matter he takes up in "I Don't Want to Live There." The places he doesn't want to live include such music business meccas as Los Angeles and Nashville, while the place he does want to live (and love and die) features towering evergreens and the smell of the sea. Yet the Lonely Forest's music is sufficiently engaging that, along with Van Deusen's words and singing, it deserves much wider recognition than the band's immediate environs. This is music with the potential for a national following, which might involve playing in places the group's leader doesn't want to be caught dead.

Customer Reviews

What an amazing album

When I started listening to the album in a park, I had to turn it down (to protect other campers). I advanced from the first song, because I wanted to hear the heavier stuff.

Well the next morning, I was awoken by a fog horn at 6am sharp. I got in my truck to head downtown Anacortes to grab a coffee. I put in the album, turned it up and started listening to the the first track, "Be Everything". Now I must preface what I am about to say with, what happened next, seldom happens to me.

The morning was gorgeous, I felt like I had the world in my hands. As I drove off from the campground and looked over to the water "Be Everything" came on. From the first verse, I was captivated, the second I was moved deeply, but by the chorus, I welled up in tears for the remainder of the song, I could not stop. A song has NEVER moved me so powerfully in my life. I simply cannot listen to it without the same effect. I want to slowly and selectively share this song (and the rest of the album) with my close friends and family, but I also resist, because it is a gift that I am feeling selfish about. His singing is so powerful, the phrasing is addicting and the lyrics are deep, but often playful.

Part of me wants to know what the writer was literally expressing, but I am honestly scared to know, as the song has powerful meaning to me on many, many levels. The meaning "seems" obvious.

The rest of the album is very clever, amazing musicianship and it comes across to me as a concept album or a well written biographical book. I thought at first, why would you start the album with that track, it didn't make sense, and it doesn't, unless you listen to the album and immerse yourself within it.

All in all a great album and I have listened to it countless times. Great work gents, i cannot wait to hear more from you!

JD Vancouver BC


Formed: Anacortes, WA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

Formed in the waterfront town of Anacortes, Washington, the Lonely Forest center on the talents of vocalist/pianist John Van Deusen. The group came together as a quartet in 2005, when frontman Van Deusen chose to bolster his piano-driven compositions with help from guitarist Tony Ruland, drummer Braydn Krueger, and bassist Eric Sturgeon. The group's spacy sound attracted the ear of Seattle's Jack Endino (who, in 1989, produced Nirvana's Bleach), and the Lonely Forest subsequently entered Endino's...
Full bio
Arrows, The Lonely Forest
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Customer Ratings