Written by Natalie Fisher
Douglas Dare’s Aforger released earlier this month, is an album with a striking sound, powered by songs with an important, yet often ignored message. From Dare’s first album Whelm released in 2014, which captured aesthetic and put it into sound, there is high expectation for a continuation of Dare’s unique electronic melodies in the new LP and the listener is not disappointed.
Aforger delves straight into the darkest ideas, making this a wonderfully sombre record. The word “aforger” itself draws on the idea of imitation and forgery, an appropriate name for an album that draws on issues such as the crisis of identity and problems of technology. The album artwork is particularly dark, with shadows used that mean the attention is drawn to Dare himself, a symbol of how the album focuses on the darkest parts of the artists soul.
Indeed, the album starts with Doublethink, which immediately arrests the listener with powerful lyrics “In front of our screen we stare at the light” and an ominous piano melody. Through this track, Dare creates a sense of desperation that makes this a particularly powerful song to start the album.
Similarly, Oh Father contains a powerful message about acceptance and the vocals contain an intense feeling of melancholy that drives the song forwards. The backing track is kept simple and the lyrics really drive the message of the song “I want you to love him/as much as I do”. There is a real sense of fragility in this song that makes it a beautiful, yet haunting piece of music.
Dare furthers the theme of fragility with The Edge, which is a quiet track full of ambiguity. This track stands out on the album and is really beautifully constructed. The chorus “We thank you/Explorer/ For the Edge” is particularly moving and makes this potentially the darkest track on the album. This track being placed halfway through also marks significance and it becomes the song that captures the essence of the album, a feeling of uncertainty and helplessness.
Stranger is one of few powerful tracks on the album, which uses simple lyrics and combines them with an interesting trumpet melody. Trumpets are usually used in joyous, celebratory music and so it is particularly interesting how Dare uses the instrument to create a song that’s full of heartbreak and sorrow. Whilst the lyrics are kept simple, they still remain poignant and this is kept consistent throughout the entirety of the album.
Overall, Douglas Dare has created an album that uses an innovative electric sound and powerful vocal arrangements that explore themes of fragility, oppression and imitation. It is a dark, yet really beautiful album that is well worth a listen.
You can listen to Dare singing Oh Father in a live session below.