Review Summary: Worse than Lions Write History, but better than most everything else.
In Pieces - Learning to Accept Silence
Where the fuc
k did In Pieces go? That's the million dollar question. I've been rocking out to their only two LPs Learning to Accept Silence
and Lions Write History
for the past two days or so and I can't help thinking that they'd be amazing live (though their show may be underattended). After releasing Lions Write History
in 2005 they toured behind the album and then fell off the face of the earth. I know they have members from other bands like With Honor
, and maybe Life in Your Way
, but come on, aren't those bands broken up or something? And, if ignoring With Honor's self-titled EP, they trump all of those other bands. With all of the crap imitation bands cashing in at Victory Records you'd think there would be some space for In Pieces to unload a third LP in 2007 or 2008. Either way they might not put anything out ever again, and because I've already reviewed their most recent LP, I'm going to take a stab at Learning to Accept Silence
The main reason I love Lions Write History
(enough to rank it a 5/5) is the tightness of the band's songwriting. Every moment seems carefully crafted enough to tear apart the listener. Every interweaving guitar line, heavy bass tone, anything and everything is interesting, fun, and emotionally compelling. It is a perfect post-hardcore release. And if Lions Write History
is post-hardcore at its tightest, Learning to Accept Silence
is its looser young sibling. Don't get me wrong, the album is well-crafted, but instead of carefully segueing between different sections and ideas, this younger version of In Pieces specializes in jutting transitions between different section and tearing apart the listener through massive emotional leaps instead of careful, immaculate baby steps. The resulting feel is much "looser" as I've labeled it, and while not perfect is also very effective at producing awesome songs. Take the album's best track, "A Fitting Lie." At around 2:50 there is a crazy tempo shift. The song is blaring along in a swift 4/4 and then all of sudden the melodic, fast sound breaks down into a solo rhythm guitar strumming in a 4/4 that uses the eighth note value of the previous tempo as an eighth triplet, effectively changing the tempo to 12 original eighths for every 8 new eighths, a jutting shift, but it succeeds, all because In Pieces forces two beautifully composed sections of their song up against each other. It doesn't have the sophistication of the transitions on their second LP, but if anything it's incredibly effective too. These kinds of instant transitions are favored throughout the album, and as a result every single song is has split personalities between original, beautiful slow sections and furious fast sections.
This album also has a slightly different flavor than Lions Write History
. Lions Write History
featured tighter songwriting, with more interweaving of parts, and as a result the album wasn't as visceral or intense as many other post-hardcore albums. There were long meandering sections that got by on their ingenuity and not their ability to produce dynamic shifts or other typical post-hardcore tricks. Learning to Accept Silence
is much more traditional than that. In addition, the sweet sections are all the sweeter and the brutal sections all the more brutal. They will engage in thick and heavy breakdowns with little to no attention to harmony or melody. However, they'll also decide to produce slower sections that are amazingly consonant and catchy. A lot of this is rendered by the guitars, who will use the typical arpeggiation techniques during the slow sections and use a lot of open-note chugging mixed with higher-pitched whining tritone guitar riffs or dyads. So in reality its sort of typical fare. It's a little more expected, which may be because it's from 2002 when this brand of post-hardcore was still incredibly fresh. But, what Learning to Accept Silence
loses from being more traditional, it more than makes up for with the emotion and maturity on this album. The singing and screaming are both top notch, and is really aggressive and in-your-face without being invasive and pleading. The whole album sounds like one that inspires followers and not the other way around. I can practically hear tons of Victory Records bands messing up the intro to "Mistake I'd Made Again" with bad production, cheesy guitar inflections, and whiny vocals.
And other than these specific admirable characteristics, this album just destroys. Every song is memorable and fun. I now listen to it in the shadow of Lions Write History
but in a lot of ways, this album has its older brother beat. "A Fitting Lie" is the best track in the band's collection and there isn't a weak track on the album. If anything, this is one of the best debut LPs for a post-hardcore, certainly more so than Identity Crisis
, The Frailty of Words
, Wiretap Scars
, Darts to the Sea
, among others. In fact, the only I can think of in competition is Glassjaw's EYEWTKAS
. So ya, Learning to Accept Silence
is the real deal, if a little antiquated against the band's most recent effort.