Emery
...In Shallow Seas We Sail


4.0
excellent

Review

by Nathaniel Fritz USER (17 Reviews)
May 30th, 2009 | 590 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Welcome back.

…In Shallow Seas We Sail is reason #473 why I’m an idiot. After Emery released their sub-par third album, 2007’s I’m Only a Man, to what seemed to be a chorus of chirping crickets, I thought they had lost what made them special and would descend into a pit of obscurity (or other pretentious metaphor of your choice). They have responded with the most focused album of their career. I said the screaming portion of their alt-rock/post-hardcore hybrid sucked and they should just get rid of it; now the heavy parts of “Cutthroat Collapse” and “Curbside Goodbye” get me so fired up that I want to punch a hole in the wall directly facing me (in a good way, though). Basically, I thought Emery was dead and it turns out that they're most definitely alive and kicking. I also said Adam Lambert could never win American Idol being as theatrical and sexually ambiguous as he was. And America’s votes vindicated me on that count. Unfortunately, that has nothing to do with Emery. Thus, I must admit defeat and accept (happily, I might add) that Emery is back and, in some respects, better than ever.

Yes, …In Shallow Seas We Sail rules. It maximizes what has always been the band’s greatest strength (the outstanding vocals of Toby Morrell and Devin Shelton), brings renewed passion and improved technicality instrumentally, and retains the best elements of their good albums (2004’s The Weak’s End and 2005’s The Question) while also progressing in directions that fit the band well – something that definitely couldn’t be said about I’m Only a Man. Long-time fans will undoubtedly call this a “return to form” and proceed to throw any left-over copies of I’m Only a Man into a trash compacter, but really, there isn’t that much different stylistically between …In Shallow Seas We Sail and its predecessor. What is different is that Emery has regained the strong songwriting that set them apart early in their career and, for the most part, stays away from the kitschy novelty parts that made I’m Only a Man feel so fragmented and lazy. The second half of …In Shallow Seas We Sail has some rather mundane moments that keep the album as a whole from reaching true greatness, but the vast majority of this is great stuff.

“Cutthroat Collapse” is the best song of the band’s career, bar none. Morrell and Shelton’s interweaving vocals in the chorus are pure bliss, but Matt Carter’s ATDI-esque guitar lines provide a perfect background to their outstanding melodies. The breakdowns in the bridge and outro are easily the most enjoyable Emery has ever done; the screaming vocals, usually a weakness for the band, have a sharp bite to them and inspire me to let out all my aggression that I usually save for beating my dog. Above all, the song’s energy has so much more in common with Translating the Name-era Saosin or recent Underoath than I ever thought an Emery song could have. To put it mildly, the song slays. The entire first half of the album is virtually flawless, for that matter. “Curbside Goodbye” is a poignant slow-burner that gives way to a screaming climax with off-kilter guitars in the tradition of The Weak’s End, “Churches and Serial Killers” features a godly finish combining Morrell’s fantastic vocals over dramatic strings, and the bittersweet title track is probably the vocal standout of the album as Shelton and Morrell trade off soaring melodies in the chorus, leading up to a restrained but nonetheless moving ending. Most encouraging to me is that many of the songs that don't immediately stand out on first listen ("Inside Our Skin," "Piggy Bank Lies") have the growing and staying power that made The Question such a great listen. …In Shallow Seas We Sail doesn't quite have the flow that album has, but its songs are arguably better and there are few albums flow as well as The Question anyway.

…In Shallow Seas We Sail isn't perfect; some songs on the second half of the record seem a bit underdeveloped and rely on the same bag of tricks over and over, making me long for one of the band's songs with unconventional structures like "Disguising Mistakes with Goodbyes" or "Playing with Fire." On the other hand, if you had told me in January that the worst part of the new Emery record would be a few filler songs, I probably would have smiled, slowly nodded, and thought to myself, “Well, I think I can be down with that” or something along those lines but less dorky. Is …In Shallow Seas We Sail the best Emery album yet? Maybe, maybe not. But the fact that there's even a debate is wonderful news. Die-hard fans will love this and those looking to get into the band now have a definitive starting point. Highly recommended for fans of Anberlin, Underoath, and The Receiving End of Sirens.

Recommended Tracks:

Cutthroat Collapse

In Shallow Seas We Sail

Curbside Goodbye

The Smile, The Face

Churches and Serial Killers



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user ratings (1043)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
roofi
May 30th 2009


959 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

stream: www.myspace.com/emery

Waior
May 30th 2009


11452 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

This album is pretty good, and the review is mostly great.



ninjuice
May 30th 2009


6760 Comments


Best intro I've seen in a while. Not interested in the band though.

roofi
May 30th 2009


959 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i don't think this album will change anyone's opinion of this band too much, but everybody should at least listen to "cutthroat collapse", that song completely slays

any errors/issues with the review that i missed?

atrink2
May 30th 2009


17 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

i'm thinking this is one of the best album of the year so far

Oblivioncry
May 30th 2009


601 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

first time i am listening this band, and this album is awesome.

btw this album doesnt remind me of Receiving End of the Siren at all. but rather Red - Innocence and Instinct.



roofi
May 30th 2009


959 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

vocally they remind me a lot of treos. toby's vocals kind of sound like the dude from red too, i guess. not a big fan of red though

xNintendoCorex
May 30th 2009


1272 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this albums so good, i was totally caught off guard, i didnt dislike im only a man, but this is just so much better.

KritikalMotion
May 30th 2009


2261 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I don't know it's almost like their last album didn't exist. Thats a good thing. I expected them too come back like this but it's better than i thought.

4-4.5

Digging: Death From Above 1979 - The Physical World

ziroth
May 30th 2009


1252 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

great review for a great album.

marksellsuswallets
May 30th 2009


4848 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I didn't think Adam Lambert won...?

roofi
May 30th 2009


959 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

he didn't, i'm saying i saw his loss coming

doesn't really matter though, he's set for life anyway. plus, it's american idol, so i mean

marksellsuswallets
May 30th 2009


4848 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Oh, read the sentence wrong. I suppose I'll be checking this out soonish. Got too much stuff to listen to and as much as I like Emery, this is sort of around the bottom of the list at the moment.

Yeah, he'll probably go farther than the other guy whose name I don't really know.

roofi
May 30th 2009


959 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

there is a 100% chance you will like this when you get around to listening to it

marksellsuswallets
May 30th 2009


4848 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Oh I'm sure I'll love this to death. I just feel like I need to get a few things reviewed in the near future since I've been a contributor for a while now and I've neglected to actually contribute much haha.

Waior
May 31st 2009


11452 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

"In my defense, I also said that Adam Lambert was much too theatrical and sexually ambiguous to win American Idol. And America’s votes vindicated me on that count."


Examples like this make my a bit wary: sentence fragments, starting a sentence with and, but, etc. I'll give you the benefit of a doubt that that is just your style.

Other than that minor quip, review is solid and intro paragraph slays.

ninjuice
May 31st 2009


6760 Comments


Examples like this make my a bit wary: sentence fragments,

Unless my grammar is completely terrible, I don't think the second sentence you quoted is a fragment.

xNintendoCorex
May 31st 2009


1272 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

its got a subject and meaning, i think its a sentence. the 'And' is a bit superfluos though, the sentence still makes sense without it.

AlexTM510
May 31st 2009


1401 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Super awesome review, loved it. does the album justice

And yea cutthroat collapse is the best they've done. The bridge into the outro is quite possibly one of the most melodically intense slaying moments I have ever heard (at least in Emery standards).

roofi
May 31st 2009


959 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i slightly modified the adam lambert part since a couple people now have noticed issues with it, thanks for pointing it out

ultimately i think i still like the question more



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