Review Summary: Craig does not fit the band, the vocals should have been layered, the guitars and drums save the album, and the bass is hardly heard at all. There is some potential in this band though.
When a band loses their vocalist, the next album is either much better than the last or much worst. This being my first experience with Emarosa I can not compare to anything else. I did learn that Emarosa hails from Lexington, Kentucky and tapped Kris Crummett (Fear Before the March Of Flames, Dance Gavin Dance, Drop Dead Gorgeous) to record the album with. When A Skylit Drive released their new album to many disappointed fans there was talking about looking forward to the new Emarosa. Well their debut full-length “Relativity” hit stores July 8th. Is this any better than A Skylit Drive?
The best part of the album is the two-part finale “I Still Feel Her (Part I)” and “A City Called Coma (Part II)”, which starts with a great opening guitar riff with Jonny Craig starting the song off by singing. Craig's vocals are very bearable on these two tracks; it may be because he does not use his high-pitched vocals. The drums are very simple, but they really lay a great foundation for the songs. The bass is heard a couple of times throughout these two tracks, most predominately in the middle of "I Still Feel Her (Part I)". A great drum line starts with cymbals that lead into a snare line that ends back at cymbals.
The great guitars found throughout "I Still Feel Her (Part I)" flows smoothly into "A City Called Coma (Part II)" while Craig goes into his scream but restrains from hitting his highest pitch. Jonny Craig puts his emotions into his singing on these two songs, and it really makes for a great finish to an otherwise lackluster album. Synth is featured widely in the middle of the song before the drums comes back into play and shows some great drumming. The last minute or so of "A City Calles Coma (Part II)" is good and shows how much potential the band has if Craig keeps away from the high pitch he uses that ruins this album.
The worst part of the album is the opening track, "The Past Should Stay Dead". The song starts with Jonny Craig's high-pitched vocals that is just too high and comes off badly and forced. The song features some generic standard guitar riffs while the drums are your run of the mill simple drums. Near the beginning part of the middle, you hear some potential upswing, but then it quickly fades away with the backing vocals and the guitars that follow. Craig's vocals do get slightly better when he starts singing on the track. Another problem with the track is that the bass is hardly heard at all while it follows the drums. This song does do one good thing though; it is the best reason to show that Craig's vocals needs to be layered.
The rest of the album falls in between these three tracks, in more ways than one. There is some competition for best and worst songs. "Set It Off Like Napalm" was in contention for the best song, but it just got outlasted by the two part finale that flowed well together. On the worst song side, you have the two instrumentals, "Even Bad Men Love Their Mothers" and "It's Cold In The Shade, Let's Move To The Sun....” fighting for the title, but they lucked out by not having Craig being featured. One of the major things that comes to mind when listening to the album is that tracks four, five, and six blends into each other, and if you don't pay attention you may think it's all one track of generic Faux Post-Hardcore.
One thing I am surprised is that Jonny Craig went from being a good vocalist in the two vocalists Dance Gavin Dance to a decent at best vocalist by himself. It may be because his vocals are not layered or it maybe because he is trying to make Emarosa into Dance Emarosa Dance. Either way the band should have added a vocalist who has had experience screaming as well as singing. The drums and guitars during the middle of “What’s A Clock Without The Batteries?” is actually good while the guitars on “Just Another Marionette” are generic, chugging guitars. By "Heads or Tails? Real Or Not" Craig’s vocals are getting old and blending together.
Emarosa’s debut full-length is at best a generic crapfest with some high points. The thing that saved this album was the guitars and drums. Is this better than A Skylit Drive’s newest album? A resounding no. Craig does not fit the band, the vocals should have been layered, the guitars and drums save the album, and the bass is hardly heard at all. There is some potential in this band though.