Review Summary: "Saosin is one of the better pop-punk albums of 2006, a great mix of metal and post-hardcore elements with some of the most catchy hooks this side of "Back to Bedlam."
To be quite honest, Translating the Name
by Saosin really wasn’t that great. It featured a pretty raw band with a pretty raw singer, and despite the promise they both showed, it ended up being a fast, aggressive, poppy mess. When the two heads (the band and the singer) split up, everyone could only fear for the worst from the now Anthony Green-less Saosin, and expected massive things from the Scene King. After years of wait, Anthony Green’s new band Circa Survive released De-Loused in…
, er, Juturna
, while it took Saosin another year to release their first album, which ended up being self titled. Who ends up winning in the battle of pretentiousness?
“Sleepers” is easily the most kickass job anything even related to Saosin has ever put out. Despite it being a reworking of a previous demo, and being the lead single from the album, you’ll be hard pressed to find a more rocking song . With guitar riffs that put many popcore band to shame (and a few “metal” bands as well), combined with the intensity of new singer Cove Reber, the song ends up being a perfect indication of what Saosin does best; incredibly catchy, fast, and (ugh) aggressive metal-tinged pop-punk. After this, you’ll wonder why the hell did anyone even care about Anthony Green in the first place.
The musicianship here is literally outstanding if you come in here with preconceived notions of what a band most easily compared to a hard-edged version of My Chemical Romance should be. There are frequent time changes to make up for the relatively unimaginative riffs (which are nonetheless perfectly awesome). Drummer Alex Rodriguez presents tons of awesome fills throughout the album, and Cove often uses his voice as more of a melody carrying device than trying to show off, which is exactly what Saosin needs.
Tackling huge, soaring choruses and quick punk tunes is when you see Saosin really hitting their mark. The first four songs are all perfectly constructed; the chorus to “It’s So Simple” may be a lyrical mess, but goddamn if the proclamation itself isn’t awe-inspiring. It’s rare that a band like this can get epic in the span of 3 minutes, but Saosin pretty much manages to do that on a regular basis. When they get closer to being hardcore (a bastardized version, before I get flamed out of my ass), like on “Collapse”, they are as intense as any band who depends on hook after hook can be.
The big comparison has to be, of course, whether Cove can compare to Anthony Green as a vocalist. The resounding answer is easily. Where Green depends on silly little tricks and a higher-than-belief pitched voice to try and carry a tune, Cove is a much more trained and, frankly, professional singer. He may be a bit similar to Green tone-wise, but Cove can do a lot more vocal acrobatics, whether it be the chorus in “I Never Wanted to Be” where he pulls off singing every syllable ever so differently without making it seem contrived, to “Bury Your Dead” where his commanding voice far outsrips anything Green has done with Circa Survive. Where he does fail is in his lyricism, which is often incredibly shallow and filled with clichés. No way getting around it; Cove, while a much better singer, is one of the worst songwriters imaginable.
It’s okay, because for the most part, Saosin manage to pull off every song well. The album could use some more variation, however. As great as the songs are, there are only one or two tracks that really sound unique to anything else, with everything else having a tune eerily similar to it elsewhere on the album. For as awesome as “Sleepers” or “Collapse” is, there are a “Voices” and “Come Close” which ‘come close’ to replicating them.
, taken out of context, is a good album. It has some catchy tunes (weighted heavily towards the beginning), Green has a great voice, and the band do a good job essentially backing him up. However, its really quite repetitive due to the fact there is only so much Green can do with his voice, and what his backup band (sorry, but this really is just a vehicle for a Green solo career) can do to support him. Meanwhile, Saosin
ends up capturing a lot of the magic that Translating the Name
had, with a singer who while not as unique or as good a songwriter as Green, fits them better. Its undeniably a pop-punk album, but it has hints of post-hardcore and metal that make its excellent guitar work stand out more than anything on Juturna
. The verdict? If your looking for the more “out there” album, Juturna
is the choice. If your looking for a far superior album, even if it’s a bit bland, take Saosin