Review Summary: A Skylit Drive have some younger rivals.
I See Stars is going somewhere fast. These boys are underage and are rivaling the scenes top notch contenders. They play Post-Hardcore that lies on the boarder of synthcore, nothing special, but they are very good at what they do.
The singing reminds me of Of Machines, and Saosin, they are high pitched, and energetic. To get a perfect sample of the singers vocal range, listen to one of highlight tracks The Common Hours. The vocalists wail of “And she screams my name!” at about the middle of the song just makes you want to jump around. Yes, there is a hint of an autotune, or vocoder in every song. But hey, I think it fits right in. Their biggest secret weapon is the keyboardist, who does the screaming vocals. They have an authority about them that shouts “Hey! Listen up!” They are unique in themselves but his low growls remind me somewhat of Agraceful. They are refreshing from the upbeat singing, and they usually accompany a breakdown.
Now, these guys aren’t super serious or balls-to-the-walls heavy. But they throw in some super heavy chug-a-lug breakdowns every once and a while, and when tied together with the synth, the get the job done and more. The guitar work is nothing special, but is above average for Post-Hardcore. They have a refined technicality to them. Think of Oceana’s The Tide, with less breakdowns. They really shine in the album opener Project Wakeup. The fretwork becomes frantic and concentrated while keeping up with the synth to make a built of to what is in my opinion is the best breakdown in the whole album.
The drumming and keyboards/synthesizer in this album at least, go together for me. They are perfect for the kind of music these guys play. The keyboardist has this way of making you listen to upbeat synth loops and have you not even realize it. It will sneak its way into the song and you’ll be like, “Whoa, this is pretty cool.” There’s the cliché electrodance song titled Sing This!, which could have been left out completely, but that’s really the only downfall of the album. The drummer does his work to keep the tempo while keeping everything simple; he has a certain technicality to him just as the guitarist. The fills are refreshing instead of boring same old drumming that all too many bands want to copy.
Overall, this is a solid debut album for a young band that will do a lot in the future, if they continue to be inventive and fun. I recommend them highly if you like Of Machines, Oceana, We Came As Romans, Harp And Lyre, or A Skylit Drive.