The third album by semi-experimental New York collective the Boggs is the band's most focused and accessible yet. In other words, Forts sounds like it's meant to be messy, sprawling, and haphazard, rather than being so much of all three that it becomes hard to get a grasp on leader Jason Friedman's aesthetic. The Boggs' trademark quirky touches abound: "Little Windows" and "Arm in Arm" are built on the well-known rhythm beds of Buddy Holly's "Peggy Sue" and Gary Glitter's "Rock & Roll, Pt. 2," respectively, and other songs incorporate atonal strings ("Bookends"), clattering kitchen sink percussion parts ("Forts" and "If We Want [We Can]"), and near-subliminal low-end improvisations ("The Passage"), among other ideas. With songs ranging from the frenetic, Fall-like noise pop of "Melanie in White" to the minimalist wiggle of the dancy "Poor Things," a foolish consistency is clearly not Friedman's hobgoblin, and those who require the same of their pop music might find the album frustratingly uneven. Overall, though, Forts is the first Boggs album to apply tuneful songwriting and decent production to their original deliberate sloppiness, and it suits them very nicely indeed.
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AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason