Preconceived Notions: Never heard of this before….from its name I want to say it’s Death Metal. Which would be sweet!! But from this group’s collective listener range (aside from my own) I think we can rule that out. Bummer…but I am gonna pop in some Naplam Death after this one is over. \m/
After Listening: There were some things I really liked about this record, and some things that were pretty average. The vocal deliveries had a wider range than the music, but in a lot of moments this was ok – it was at least a passionate form of expression that warranted some attention. The vocals are the primary instrument on this, and though they’re not the only/1st band to do this – they do an above average job of melting the music behind the voice to create the tones they are intending. The overall angst of the album is contrasted at points very effectively with a bright musical backing..so when it delivers and really comes together I am all onboard. There is however, general meandering present in a lot of songs that doesn’t deliver a reflective expository element so much as take some punch away from the roots of the pieces.
Favorites: “You are invited” – The opening drum machine synth is very, very similar to “Inner City Pressure” by Flight of the Conchords, which in itself is based loosely on the Pet Shop Boys…so where that puts us…umm..well who knows? Admittedly it’s a very stripped down song, but bringing it together from its nearly annoying (at times) narrative are the choruses, which are catchy both with the distorted and loud backing instruments…to the more subdued clean guitar ones.
“Girl o’Clock” – Yes the stuttering, frozen simulated delivery gets grating in moments. I can forgive that for the intense drumming (best on the record), the driving bassline, and the multi voiced vocal melodies. Then there’s a legit breakdown section which actually attempts to give an interlude, and break it up in away that the rest of the album sort of overlooks.
“8 ½ Minutes” – I like the lyrical concept, I love the swelling bass effect. There is some excellent guitar work behind the verses-frantic and sloppy enough to be jagged, but not a mess. The voice on this is impressive, he seems to drop down the dramatics and then raise them at all the appropriate times. (“they give the power plants 10 days”) The choruses are very melodic, but the song itself has some dissonance in the guitar lines immediately following them, and of course the mimicking warning alarms.
Least Favorite: “The Jitters” – The track starts promising with an isolated guitar…but this song sort of encapsulates a lot of what I don’t care for on this album. The entire thing just sort of hangs there- one main tempo, and worse yet little vocal development. Very uninteresting, and not because it’s mellow throughout…but more because it’s dynamically stationary. 4 mins seemed like 10min.
Overall 3.7 There’s nothing groundbreaking about this album, but that doesn’t make it a bad album. There are moments of lyrical goodness (“Every joke I make is treason”) and certainly of vocal delivery. Musically for me the thing only gets a passing grade, rather than excelling. There are moments of bright sharp guitar, swelling bass, and frantic drums…but though they are clearly in a supporting role…I feel they could’ve done more to keep some of the tracks on the album from meandering around. (as even on songs I enjoyed like “You are Invited” the danger to get stale was always present). I would give it future listens, and I think it’s a reasonably solid effort.