Review Summary: Yaaaaawn.
I’ll be the first to admit to being a novice when it comes to emo and all closely related genres. Heck, a year ago I had that painfully juvenile but unfortunately universal misconception of emo, this being that misconception:
“And I can't make it on my own.
Because my heart is in Ohio.
So cut my wrists and black my eyes.
So I can fall asleep tonight, or die.
Because you kill me.
You know you do, you kill me well.
You like it too, and I can tell.
You never stop until my final breath is gone.”
That was a major fail on my part, but it was more or less expected in the MTV-influenced society in which I was growing up in. It comes as no surprise then that I was baffled upon seeing As the Roots Undo
’s ridiculously high average score and the mass number of classic reviews featured on its page. I didn’t ignore the rave reviews and promptly checked it out, and I was baffled by the emotional impact it had on me. I was incapable of doing anything during the 44-minute runtime of that album because I was so profoundly reflecting on its numerous musical characteristics. It quickly became one of my favorite albums.
Not all emo/screamo/hardcore is this awesome though. There are definitely stinkers among the legends and the current beasts of the genre. Enter Sinaloa, a three-piece out of Somerville, Massachusetts. They are competent instrumentally and are to some extent tapping into the right idea, but the music suffers from a sizeable amount of monotony, as well as a lack of emotion. Yes, this is emo lacking in the emotional department.
Something to note about the band is the unorthodox selection of instruments. There are two guitarists, yes, and a drummer, but no bass. It leaves the music with a lighter, more hollow sound, but in the long run it really has no apparent effects on the music, positive or detrimental. The plain truth though is that Sinaloa are painfully boring. They downplay the desperate and heavy elements of the genre in favor of a more relaxing sound, complete with dainty guitar lines and vocals that snuggle into a niche between cleans and vivacious yells. The song structure is a mess, for better or for worse depending on one’s take. It isn’t a traditional chorus-based structure, which isn’t expected for the genre anyways, but some sections drag on far too long and stale rather quickly. It at least isn’t basic, so that garners a minimal sum of kudos. To compare and contrast their sound to another band, well, they sound like the unwanted bastard child of Off Minor and mewithoutYou, lacking the enthusiasm and innovation of both bands but seeming to draw influences from them at the same time. The lead singer’s (I wish I could dig up more information on who does the main vocals) delivery bares some resemblance to that of Aaron Weiss, and the lyrics are written in a slightly similar way. That said, they ultimately fail to have the personal impact of either of the aforementioned, and pale in complexity and depth as well.
Whenever harsher vocals make their appearance, surprising drum rolls and fills tend to saturate the music. What could have been a constructive addition instead wears out when all the fills begin to sound eerily similar. And then everything sounds similar. Seriously, when listening to this album and focusing my attention on writing this review, I can’t tell when one song ends and another begins, and all of a sudden I’m on track 8 and I can’t remember anything that occurred previously. It isn’t the “time flies when you’re having fun” quick though, it just runs through you and leaves nothing significant behind. Never was I tempted to go out of the way to rewind a song. This removes any contention for best or worst track, as they all provide a relatively similar experience. There aren’t any ambient interludes or any blistering, efficient shorter songs either. Everything is situated around the happy median of three and a half minutes.
Footprints on Floorboards
really isn’t a terrible album. Throwing the occasional song off of this into a playlist might be rewarding, but listening to this album in one sitting is a chore. It is uninteresting and monotonous, and although the band might have had the right idea, the effort put into this was seemingly minimal. The softer emo-sound is neither awe-inspiring nor highly infectious. Maybe they didn’t have to describe every individual lyric on their site and instead could have switched things up every once in a while here.