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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

(Almost) their best one yet.

I've been a large fan of this band for two reasons: I'm from Anacortes, and they are also a GOOD indie band, which are usually hit and miss these days. Their last two albums, Nuclear Winter and We Sing the Body Electric!, are very original works and this album is no different, although you can hear the obvious Death Cab influences (Chris Walla is their producer, after all). This album has some huge high points, but also a few missteps that keep it from being a truly phenomenal album. Songs such as lead single Turn Off this Song and Go Outside and I Don't Want to Live There have a raw energy and beauty to them that makes this band so fun to listen to in the first place. Newer songs such as Coyote and Tunnels are also great, and the title track Arrows is a fitting climax for the album. Being a big fan of the band, I give my complaints with love: firstly, the re-recording of We Sing In Time is awkward and forced compared to the orignal version. The original pretty much helped this band start making it big, because when you hear it they sound like they are just having a great time playing music and wailing on their instruments. On this newer version, they seem like they are trying way too hard to emulate the orignal sound, and Van Deusen's vocals definitely sound shot at points. It wouldn't have hurt for them to relax and just let loose more often on the album.The two "I Am" songs are a mediocre experiment, and are good instrumentally but lyrically lacking compared to the other songs on the album, despite the mature theme that they tackle. All in all, the good outweighs the bad, but it wouldn't hurt them to combine more of the raw energy off their last album with some of the maturity and growth seen on this one. This is a good album from a GREAT band, yet it leaves me in anticipation of how their next one will sound. Hopefully, they will continue to evolve while still retaining what made them special in the first place.


Best album I've heard in a while. I impulse bought this and don't regret it for a second. Every song is amazing. Buy this

This band is so great.

I saw them live with two door cinema club and Bombay bicycle club and they were sooo great! Do yourself a solid and listen to the lonely forest. you will love them!


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

Top Albums and Songs by The Lonely Forest

Arrows, The Lonely Forest
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Customer Ratings