Blowing Up: Fort Lean

Fort Lean has a great sound, and that’s about as descriptive as I can get after listening to their music on repeat for a while. Influence-wise, it’s a strong combination of quite a few things (classic rock, surf rock, modern loft rock), but also has a surprisingly timeless quality to it. I’m not trying to be pretentious here, nor trying to put the group on a pedestal. I just think that their inability to be pinned has helped them achieve some solid press.  From other reviews I read (on account of being a little lost here), I picked up a few recurring nuggets I’d like to share.

  • The band wants to be superstars, which is quite a lofty goal in our modern scene.
  • The lead singer’s name, Keenan Mitchell, reminds me of Goodburger.
  • He is the owner of quite a mane of hair.
  • Fort Lean is self-described as a mythical place of stars and stream-cooled wine.
  • Not everyone is a champion of the group, nor its ambitions.

This last one was interesting because I found another reviewer who didn’t know what all the fuss was about, and I half agree. The songs on the self-titled EP and new single are quite good, especially “Beach Holiday” and it’s borderline insane lyrics, but something seems amiss.  The tunes haven’t necessarily stuck in my head like I would hope a newly buzzing band’s material would. 

Of course, I’m not trying to knock the band and am completely happy they’re gaining success. But when I see a group in the New York Times and on an mTV site, yet can’t remember what their songs sound like after multiple spins, something seems weird. Maybe their semi-surf sound and grandiosity is pushing them into an ‘mindie’ kind of position, but they also haven’t released enough to tell.  I remember feeling this way about Surfer Blood, who’s now signed to a major label (so what do I know?). Their live show is supposed to be good, so maybe that’s helped push them as well.

Feel free to take a listen below and see if you agree. I might just be playing Devil’s advocate here, but let’s not forget that the group did grab my attention and inspire me to write about them.  That says an awful lot. To sum up, while Fort Lean’s promise is undeniable, the future will see if they deliver on it. 

*mindie is a Hipster Runoff term that makes more than the usual amount of sense.



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