The Great Depression: 'Forever Altered'

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Front-man Todd Casper and backing vocalist Karin Boysin of the Great Depression. hide caption

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A quartet originally formed in Madison, Wis. in 1996, The Great Depression is now based in Denmark. The moniker is an especially fitting one, as the ten songs on the Great Depression's third and latest full-length album, Forever Altered, all drift through gray and somber landscapes. But its melancholia is sophisticated rather than melodramatic.

The album leads off with the compelling title track that sonically blends light and dark. The expansive intro on "Forever Altered" quickly gives way to front-man Todd Casper's evocative singing and quietly twinkling piano, before a chorus of backing vocals swell and lend the song a vivid theatricality.

Just minutes later, the pinnacle of Forever Altered occurs early on, in its third and fourth tracks. First is "Holes in All Your Stories," and perhaps it does reveal a bit of melodrama when Casper sings, "There were razors in your apple / And in your cigarette trays / You covered me in cyanide / And I scratched for thirty days." The song is so achingly beautiful in the first place, though, that it doesn't matter. At only 2:25, "Holes in All Your Stories" does feel too short, but when it's followed up by the equally gorgeous "It Happens During Transit," that hardly matters, either. The latter is punctuated by whistling and horns that, while not peppy by any means, are a hopeful pat on the back to the listener, as if to say, "Things may be bad now, but they'll get better."

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