Light shining into a prism and refracting in unexpected directions is a glorious sight to behold. Sonically, Forest & the Evergreens is that sort of prism - one of the brightest and most colorful in town.
Many bands claim diverse inspiration; Forest backs up such boasts. Every member of the "young funk" combo contributes songwriting, channeling such disparate spirits as soul man James Brown and cafe diva Leslie Feist. What emerges is not radical so much as slightly askew - art-damaged O.A.R., if you can believe it. It's eclectic and approachable, a series of natural yet unforeseen evolutions.
The band broadcast its industrious sounds all over Columbus last year, playing everywhere from CD102.5 Summerfest at a sold-out LC Pavilion to Till's tiny gallery space. Forest performed with all kinds of bands, sometimes hustling to two or three gigs in a day. Demand and approval ratings were through the roof.
"It's kind of boring to build a show from the same three bands," drummer Mike Twice said. "And since we pull from so many different styles of music… We like to mix it up."
Casting a wide net pays dividends. As saxophonist/keyboardist Terrance Farmer noted, playing for different audiences accrues all kinds of feedback - and, of course, a wide range of admirers.
"It opens you up to a lot of different scenes," trumpeter Adam Bidwell said. "Some people that would never think to listen to us in the first place, all of the sudden they see us at one show because they went to see some other band that really doesn't sound anything like us, but they just happen to see us there and realize they actually like us too."
Having saturated Columbus, the plan is to travel far and wide in 2013. But first they'll need an updated calling card. The three-song Tone Shoppe EP is Forest's only release, but the group is working with O.A.R.'s Jerry DePizzo on another, longer EP.
"We've got a lot of new tunes that haven't been heard," singer/guitarist Parker Muntz said. "I think that's where our focus is, just getting some new music out that we have been really giddy about."