Review Summary: ... a continued development of the sound Funeral Diner was striving to create and in that regard it succeeds.
Funeral Diner encapsulated a dense and nostalgic view of hardcore. Their seminal release 'The Underdark' was anchored by its dynamic songwriting as well as a fantastic drum performance by Ex-Portraits of Past member Matt Bajda. When the group broke up guitarist Dan Bajda and aforementioned Matt moved on to a new project under the name ...Who Calls So Loud. Their debut definitely makes the fact clear that members of the band were previously involved in Funeral Diner. The record is a combination of thoughtful longing and intense build ups. While there certainly are a lot of similar threads connecting Funeral Diner and ...Who Calls So Loud there are also numerous key differences. First off ...Who Calls So Loud isn't as dense as "The Underdark" the guitars act more as melodic anchors than heavy distorted sound scapes. 'Sleep-like' plays out this idea when it breaks into a serene bridge featuring lush guitar parts with drummer Matt releasing a flurry of impressive fills. The band also seems to take a more introspective look in terms of the lyrics. Funeral Diner's lyrics most of the time came across as very dark and preachy words on the current state of society where ...Who Calls So Loud's don't echo accusation. 'Any Color I Want' encapsulates this idea;
'it's been years since i've stood on your porch.
several memories flash all at once.
i don't even know if you still live here.
attached is everything you've written me.
i've highlighted all the lies.'
If 'The Underdark' represented what the Half Moon Bay breeds ...Who Calls So Loud is attempting to portray how the members of that community were actually bred. The record as a whole echoes lost sentiments and forgotten peers. The music is desolate and while it is not as basic as a standard hardcore affair it feels human in how it gradually builds itself up just to fall back into a more appropriate section. Highlights of the record include '18.104.22.168.' which speaks on feelings of life's futility. The cycling guitar portions in the introduction of the track help slowly cascade the song into the rolling repetition of 'there was a presence.' The song has probably the heaviest section of the record when it expands into its conclusion which almost echoes the feel of a breakdown. From that apex of heaviness the record drifts into the slide guitar of 'Assume the Power Focus' which is such a startling shift in feel that it works excellently.
Complaints on this record are easy to assume. The band isn't living up to the complexity of their former incarnation, the sound is too typical for a post rock influenced emo group, the lyrical content is trite, etc. While there is some validity in some of these statements listeners should examine ...Who Calls So Loud's debut album for simply what it is; a continued development of the sound Funeral Diner was striving to create and in that regard it succeeds.