Unfinished business is such a bitch. Just ask the four members of Chicago’s Forgotten Species, who formed in 1998 only to play a few shows, record a few demos and promptly break up to accommodate other projects. But like When Harry Met Sally or herpes, Blake Smith, Lizz Kannenberg, Chris Dandino and Matt Zemburski kept showing up in each others’ lives and practice spaces. Other bands and record deals came and went, but Forgotten Species ran like a steady current beneath the highs and lows of their other musical pursuits.
Slow forward to 2015, when January doldrums once again shook Forgotten Species out of hibernation. But instead of the usual lackadaisical beers-and-Cheap Trick-covers hang outs, this time there was palpable energy around a new batch of songs. Lightening, bottle…and out popped an EP, Hades Fades, a shimmering pop gaze assault that garnered the group some local interest and regional independent radio attention. But the that old itch, normally scratched after a few rehearsals and a show or two, persisted.
And so did Forgotten Species: First when Blake brought two new songs along with the pale ale tallboys to the first informal jam. Then when the band mostly stuck to getting together once/week, even persevering through a “redecoration” of the practice space by their stoner metal band roommates. And finally, when someone suggested calling up their old friend Andy Gerber at Chicago’s Million Yen studio and booking a day. Something about this time felt different.
The resulting single is different, too. Released in the fall of 2016, “Dead Cologne” and “Aperture” exude the confidence and self-awareness of a band that’s finally learned how to play to its strengths. Both singles propel forward with a renewed energy, drawing on the mid-tempo breathing room of Built to Spill and the Jesus and Mary Chain and shedding the security blanket of reverby muck the group has hidden behind in the past. Packaged together with three remixed and mastered demos from 1998 - “Boots All Summer,” “High on Stress” and “Negative in Furz” - as 2016’s Demon Lemon EP, what remains is a sound, and a band, that knows what it is: Aging hipsters making three listen indie rock in a one listen world.