Review Summary: In risk of inflating Jonny's already volatile ego, this really isn't that bad.
Jonny Craig, a man surrounded by more fuss than the scene girls made when what's-his-face from BlessTheFall joined Escape the Fate. Whether you know him from his douchebaggery or his new found chumminess with ex-Chiodos frontman Craig Owens doesn't matter. What you should note him for is he's a damn
good singer. His earliest shining moments hail from Dance Gavin Dance
's debut Downtown Battle Mountain
, a band and album he's worked very hard to distance himself from. Anyone who knows anything about DGD knows that certain personality issues clashed repeatedly within the band, leading to Jonny's departure and an unsure future for the group. But they moved on, and apparently so did Jonny, toying with a few bands before settling with Emarosa
, a collective beheaded without their singer (who moved on to Agraceful
, see a pattern?). Jonny was the heart and soul of DGD with his voice, and now he's made himself the heart and soul of Emarosa. So what does this siren sound like singing from his own heart? This album gives us a pretty good guess.
All Jonny drama aside, the album is catchy. Mixing acoustic doodles and powerful strums over a bed of catchy electro-esque beats gives the formula for this highly enjoyable record. The occasional synth based backing line adds a little depth and complexity to the sound. All along, his signature soul-ey voice provides the center piece, crooning in and around the melodies and unlike the Emarosa debut, skillfully illustrates his new found vocal flair. This is beginning to sound like Jonny himself wrote this, but he should be held as one of the best voices in the modern music scene. Even the voice cracks of Downtown Battle Mountian
had power and aesthetics, and this album is those aesthetics put into a simple, catchy sound.
The songs are very same-y, the pattern of dancey drums and complex wanky arpeggios in each song swirl everything into one big blur. The musical songwriting deserves props in many scenarios, but would not sustain itself on it's own. This just brings Jonny's voice back into the picture, because, well, he makes it work. The lyrics are not the greatest, but they don't hurt his vocal performance, either. Here's an example, with some bolding just to make a little point:
"All that's left is my
A place where my
Everything in between us
It's calling me
up, it's calling me
Do you think I
prove you all wrong.
Before you open your mouth,
make it clear.
can't be blocked in.
It's why I
stand so high"
Not the best, but not the worst. He settles into a lyrical field with many bands of the same caliber of writing, unfortunately, with more self-reference than Kanye West.
In the end, Jonny flexes his cords again, turning to catchy pop-rock tunes that are certainly worth a repeated listen. While it won't beat out any of your favorite albums, A Dream Is A Question You Don't Know How To Answer
is still fun, energetic, and a great little pick me up for those last few fleeting bits of summer.
NOTE: Jonny, I know you're probably going to read this. So I'd like to say you should make a new Dance Gavin Dance. Please. With people you actually like. PLEASE. That is all.