Review Summary: I See Stars makes an attempt to bring back fun and catchy post hrdcore/techno, and they really did a good job at attempting that feat.
I See Stars hit almost instant fame after the release of their debut "3-D" off of Sumerian Records. The very catchy and fun techno beats mixed together with both clean and screaming vocals and sometimes inventive breakdowns, this band certainly has potential. What major fans of the genre search for though is creativity, and if a band can bring something new or original to the table, we might as well follow along and see what they do with it. In the current post-hardcore, screamo scene were getting bands adding alot more synth to their music, coming up with the wackiest synth beats possible and placing it in their music hoping for a more enjoyable and fun listening experience, which I See Stars does here. Though they have had their synth ideas since the beginning, it makes their music a little more catchy, a little more fun and slightly original in a way.
None of the members in the band span over the age of 18, they show maturity and success with this album, and they have created a very fun album that has it's flaws, but stands out with a few of the tracks. 'Project Wakeup' opens the album fast and straight to the point. Opening with a guitar riff and Devin Oliver's nicely pitched voice, this is the perfect opening track to the album. We hear the synth in the background and it makes the listener want to bob their head a bit to the beat. In the last minute of the song though, were greeted with Zach Johnson's (original synth and screaming vocals) long, high scream, perfectly balanced synth all mixed in with a good breakdown, something many bands are lacking now-a-days. 'The Common Hours' features the one line in the lyrics that was printed on the back of the bands t-shirts and actually has been tattooed on fans, "she screams my name". I must say that Devin's vocal range is really noticed here, as he sings that line, it's nice and smooth, very easy to listen to. Also, Zach's screaming is noticed alot more here, it's rough, but it fits the sound very well.
In a recent interview with I See Stars, Devin said that, "3-D is the best track off the album, it covers every aspect of the band very well and I think sounds the most like us", well I have to agree with him there. '3-D' is the most fun and well paced track off the album, it's the one song you can't miss. It has a complete change of pace though in the center, as the first half of the song is filled with Devins singing, the second half is introduced with Zach's scream, then right back into the catchy chorus the song features. 'Save the Cheerleader' and 'The Big Bad Wolf' are to of the heaviest tracks on the album. 'Save the Cheerleader' opens with a minute and a half of a pretty good techno beat, but then screams right into the song without a moment's hesitiation. 'The Big Bad Wolf' begins catchy and singable, but then Zach jumps right into the "I'm the big bad wolf, see the pigs they run and hide" breakdown which is completely well done. 'Sing This!' is the worst track off the whole album, it's a complete techno-rap song featuring Bizzy Bone. I've probably only listened to it once, a very skippable track. 'What This Means to Me' is the last track off the album, and it is extremely well done. With a nice little guitar riff planted in the background, its he only song so far to be made into a music video, this song is the highlight of this album. Beginning with a nice sing along chorus and ending with a soft techno closing, this song is extremely well created.
I See Stars has extreme potential in the genre, whether they change their sound or not, if they can keep creating catchy and fun songs like most of the songs off this album, they could go far. I dont know how many idea's one band could have for a techno-screamo album, it could be a challenge making their next album if they choose to, but I hope they can keep doing what theyre doing. The band is certainly worth some of the hype, though them may seem a little over rated at times, I hope they take advantage of what they could do and make something better than what theyve done here.