Album Review: Looking Forward to Looking Back by Cinders

This album captures what it’s like to desperately hold on to childlike wonder while reflecting on the heavier parts of life.


By Andy McFerren

I first bonded with the guys in Cinders nearly seven years ago over their love of Taco Bell. It amazes me that anyone who can love Taco Bell as much as they do has the ability to create something as deep and as heartfelt as their sophomore album, Looking Forward to Looking Back


This fall, Looking Forward to Looking Back turns five, and as I listened back to it in its entirety for the first time in a while, I don’t think I fully appreciated the band’s growth since their debut album at the time of its release. 

This album simultaneously captures what it’s like to desperately hold on to that sense of childlike wonder as one moves through the mundanity of adult life, all while reflecting on the heavier parts of life that serve as a constant reminder that we are no longer in those carefree days of our youth. 

Cinders has always been defined by their sad boy energy, mixing the melancholy with the hopeful, but this album has a different energy to it. They’re a band full of hustlers who are pulling one of the oldest tricks in the book on you: the bait and switch. It’s like when you had a really fun activity in school and then got tricked into actually learning something. 

Cinders in 2019.

The bait and switch is found among upbeat melodies that almost mask the album’s earnest messages, such as those found in the song “Illinois.” Of the many messages in this song alone, this is one of my favorites: “You’re not alone in this pool you’re swimming, the lifeguard will keep you from drowning.”

Sure, a good portion of the album, including songs such as “The Moon,” “How Close,” “Fools,” or “Walls,” take a more blatant approach giving you raw, honest emotion wrapped in a sad but hopeful tone, but I’ll always enjoy the fast ones with zany synth lines that feel like they’re pulling a fast one on you. 

Cinders are returning to Provo for the first time in a few years on March 10, 2023 at Velour Live Music Gallery. Brush up on Looking Forward to Looking Back and go see them live. It’s an experience you won’t regret. 

Make sure to follow Cinders on Instagram and listen to their song “Illinois” below.


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