I am a big fan of context when writing reviews. I obviously don’t have an encyclopedic knowledge of the fact that this is the twelfth studio album for whatever artist but this is so new I don’t have every resource I might normally have; it’s exciting!
We are thrown straight in with a scratchy guitar followed by a short hang before the instruments dive in with Secret. It’s a heavy guitar and pulsing drums. Then we’re joined by the vocals and the sound is damn effective. Immediately the first thing you notice is that this is not grunge that fondles a memory of the 90’s. This already has it’s own signature sound, complete with a nice vocal pattern. You get the tempered melodic vocal line before it launches into the punchier speak-singing style. Sure, we’re not looking at a tune that’ll have you singing to yourself but rather something that will get stuck in your head.
Disregard takes the same sound and honestly the instrumentals do shine here. It’s a regular pulsing sound that could be in danger of getting repetitive until a complete instrumental power move in the latter half of the song. The tempo restrains itself and the beat changes giving a little self indulgence before bouncing back into the main theme. My previous reviews have shown I am a sucker for this sort of contrasting motif within a track and this is no exception.
You Got Lost opens with a really ethereal echoing guitar that is no longer the growling beast that we’ve heard before but rather an almost 70’s over-driven sound. Was the 70’s idea intentional or what I’m going to call a “Floydian slip”? Either way love it and the climax is full of the same energy that we’ve had so far. Then Don’t Dare… We get some crooked parallel minor sixths in the bass and rhythm sections that again forge this really current sound. This entire track is heavily reminding me of something and I absolutely cannot place it. Despite the number of repeated listens.
Long Shot is possibly my favourite track with its 80’s prog rock vibes. I think one could be forgiven for thinking that influences may have been pulled from the well of Rush and that syncopated rhythm and bass is great.
I have to admit to being a little thirsty for more quirky chord progressions at this point. There is a definitive sound that is really strong but for my taste I want to truly here a juicy resolution. It’s my want though and a subjective need. Phoney Eyes sort of delivers my request but not quite in the way I thought. Aivery loves those moments to really just let the instruments jam on their own with these jerky changes in tempo, beat and rhthym. They are incredibly well placed but to continue the point I want that jam to infect the vocals or be a main theme. Again it’s taste.
Envy delivers again with those odd intervals that could have pulled from some alternative metal. I want to take this moment to say really like when instruments pause and you get a kick, kick, kick, from the bass drum, like a heartbeat. I’ve heard it a few times now, not overused but effective when it comes in.
Not Sorry, is an interesting one that seems to keep delivering these off beat moments, I think yet another signature tune for the group, defining the style, now familiar from this album. It bows it’s way straight into Space Between. This is a sort of “best at what we can do” vibe. Every technique that has been executed goes on show to pull the album to a close.
For me this album was a well prepared meal that just held back on the spice. Sure spice is a taste matter but I couldn’t help but feel a bit of restraint in places. Frankly what I want to do is wait for the next helping and check out the back catalogue.
Is this album for you?
I really think this is worth checking out and would recommend a listen. As always, nothing is for everyone and those who like a less polyphonic sound may be a little disappointed. This is one of the more intriguing “give a try” recommendations I have.
- Writing: 8/10
- Performance: 8/10
- Style: 8.5/10 (Waiting for that spice!)