Continuing their drip feed of music, Sydney’s Whatever, Forever have today unveiled two surprise tracks in the form of a brand new EP titled Where I Am & Where I Want To Be. The three-track, which consists of new tracks “Monkey Grip” and “Skin & Bone” and rounded out by the previously released “Bury Me”, is another taste of the melodic magic that the five piece never stop making.
The thematic focal point of personal hardship, both internally and externally, is one that the band have never shied away from which makes it unsurprising to see it be the principal concern of Where I Am & Where I Want To Be. “Monkey Grip”, the EP’s opening piece, is an introverted look at oneself and the progress made on their own individual journey. There’s a real weight behind the delivery of this song, with its instrumentation truly conveying the gravity of the message it attempts to share. The guitar work especially feels exhausted and drained, while there’s a deep-rooted frustration underlying frontman Michael Godwin’s vocals.
It feels almost stagnant and stuck, with the crashing cymbals that emphasise the song’s choruses pounding away at listeners like a reminder that moving forward isn’t always as easy as it seems. Lyrically, this same idea is communicated in the EP title’s inspiration with the line “Another day, another train delay, keeps me right between where I am and where I wanna be”, making note of the thought that sometimes it’s external factors out of one’s control that keep you weighed down and unable to move. Both literally and metaphorically, it’s a representation of the roadblocks we’re forced to overcome in order to move forward in our lives.
Conversely, the release’s second track “Skin & Bone” is faster and more distressed than it’s predecessor with guitarist Nick Adams describing it as “a deep dive into the pains of a family in dysfunction which then touches on the feeling of having no strength to cope when you are expected to.” The song is defined by its ability to capture the exact moment when external issues begin to tear through one’s own individuality. The utilisation of guitarist Chas Levi’s vocals can’t be understated either, with his melancholic vocals through the song’s chorus the perfect foil to the wrath within Godwin’s.
It’s the interplay between the two vocalists that allows “Skin & Bone” to capture a real sense of duality, with the song able to provoke feelings of fury and despair at the exact same time. Underneath the dual vocals, it’s the characteristic grit of the rest of the band that serves to load the song with incredible substance. At times, there’s a nonchalant calmness that masks the band’s anxiety-ridden face underneath, while in other moments, the song’s emotion is an explosive assault on listeners that is impossible to avoid.
Though we sat down with “Bury Me” upon its release in May 2019, it’s important to note that it marked a turned corner for the five-piece, and saw them focusing their efforts into infusing a more melodic and sombre flavour into their music than we had ever seen. It’s this same essence that defines their new era as the band mix an intense solemnity with their melodious brand of punk. “Bury Me” feels like the perfect comparison point to understand where they’ve come from and where they’re trying to get to.
More than they have before, Whatever, Forever feel like they’ve finally come to terms with themselves. Where I Am & Where I Want To Be encapsulates the journey the band have undergone to this point perfectly, while keeping a conscious eye on the future and what is to come for the five-piece. In just three short songs, it manages to capture an intense range of emotions, while its thematic concerns balance the impact of internal and external struggles. Where Whatever, Forever are now is a far-cry from where they’ve come from, but they’ve never been better.