January 13, 2020 by Jodi Marxbury
Las Vegas based band Forgotten Door is garnering a lot of attention and positive press thanks to their deft combination of songwriting fundamentals, modern production values, and retro influences. Their self-titled EP includes six tracks revealing the full breadth of their talents. It is little surprise they come across as such a complete act considering the band’s core members, Johndale Stanley and Lonnie Danley, first began working together in the early 1990’s. Other band members such as vocalist Melody Ritz, guitarist Michael Seal, bassist Steve Meyer, and drummer Chad Sylva augment and enhance Stanley and Danley’s musical vision with skill and imagination alike. The band’s ambitions extend far past Sin City, however – Forgotten Door has their sights aimed on a future European tour and there’s nothing on the EP that signals they lack the chops and skillset to carry their art to a global stage.
“Masquerade” opens the EP with an overwhelming phrased guitar fanfare before settling into a light-footed rhythm. Melody Ritz’s singing comes in from near the outset and she has an alluring vocal touch without ever pandering for the listener’s attention. The breathy tone of her voice sounds natural rather than some theatrical affectation and pairs up well with the musical arrangement. It’s an excellent beginning to the EP and sets a memorable standard for everything following this performance. The breezy pace of “Puerto Penasco” makes for a nice contrast with the opener, but the song is never facile. The title implies a south of the border feel for the track, but the musical character of the cut is closer to intelligent and top shelf AOR and confines the Spanish/Mexican overtones of the title to the lyrics alone. Johndale Stanley’s vocal is inviting and possesses audible character inspiring confidence in the listener from the first play.
There’s plenty of guitar fireworks heard in the track “Angie”. Forgotten Door slows things down with this track and the stinging wah-wah lead guitar will leave its mark on listeners. The vocals, at first, seem like a less than ideal match for the aforementioned guitar, but it works throughout the entirety of the tune. There’s a stronger keyboard presence with this track when compared to the earlier tracks and the well-rounded layered effect of the band’s musical attack makes this one of the best songs included on the self-titled EP.
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There’s a potent guitar solo heard during the second half of the track “Warm” and the slashing rhythm guitar, jagged and full of grit, provides a compelling counterpoint to the vocals. Ritz’s harmony vocals are an important component of the song’s success, though she is never omnipresent during the mix. Forgotten Door’s sophomore release solidifies their standing as one of the best indie bands on the scene today and listeners can expect they will continue refining and improving on their art with future releases. This self-titled EP is an excellent way to familiarize yourself with the band if you haven’t heard of them before and existing fans will relish, without a doubt, the abundant strengths of this EP release.