Review Summary: It's as if Thrice made love to (Anthony Green) Saosin while listening to Pink Floyd, and Salival was playing on the TV in the background.
The fact that this cd right here has not been reviewed this year is simply beyond me. Initially when I put this in for the first time I expected decent post-hardcore probably somewhere in the realm of Emery
and the ever failing Saosin
. What I got was something more along the lines of one hell of a psychedelic enthused progressive post hardcore experience. To put it simply this is one of the best albums in the genre and would be criminally over-looked if not at least spoken about in this year’s top releases.
It’s been years since an album has literally demanded my attention to a point where I felt guilty pausing any section of the song, for the fear of losing momentum with the listening experience. Enter: 'Monolith' by Sights and Sounds
. The album was produced by Devin Townsend (Darkest Hour and Misery Signals) a pretty recognizable name, he gives this album its beefy feel and rarely reflects those of his past works. Opener Sorrows
paints an excellent picture of the capabilities this band has, yet still doesn’t compromise the rest of the disc, as it’s still just a taste of what’s to come. Starting with a slow moving piano intro which transitions into a rapid drum beat, the listener is cascaded into heavy riffage and a prolific aggression delivered by front man Andrew Neufeld. I’m a big believer that your first track is to set the tone for the rest of the album, and this song certainly delivers on that expectation.
Storm and the Sun
is heavily punk influenced, but keeps a feel of its own thanks to Neufeld and the band’s serious need of incorporating an almost space-rock atmosphere. It gets a little Nu-Metally at times, but sporadic clever moments keep the song grounded, like about 45 seconds in the second verse is ushered in with a violent growl of “Lies!
”. Still if one wants to see the true genius of the band they should listen to Neighbours
. After its quirky intro, it transforms into one of the most powerful songs I’ve laid my ears upon this year. What works best is the way they incorporate so much into one song, bouncing around what sounds like Linkin Park
before erupting into the more matured Tool
The production is absolutely stellar and suits their style of play very well. The Furthest Truth
alludes to another hard rock affair like its predecessor, before dropping off into a great power ballad. Joel Neufeld has a very sound presence on the drums not over shadowing the vocals or dual guitar work, but also isn’t lost in the flood of noise that is sometimes thrown at the listener. On the flip side Pedal Against the Wind
enters like another over dramatic Sidewalks
song before exploding into a heavy barrage of screamed ”I Escapes
” reminiscent of something Rise Against
might have done pre-‘Appeal To Reason’.
I don’t feel ashamed calling this listen a journey because the band is very cautious with progressing on throughout the record, never to tread the waters as they’d done so earlier. While that’s slightly disappointing knowing there aren’t any other songs to match the intensity of the first three tracks, this is by no means a top loaded album. This provides for a refreshing voyage as we’re given strong winded songs like Reconcile
and the heavy acoustic Borderlines
. Still, what’s most unexpected is the closing track Pillars
, which dabbles in Brand New
’s area of vulnerability with Neufeld singing against the sound of distant birds and what’s either cars passing by or the ocean crashing against the beach.
My one complaint would be the simplistic approach to their ballads as they don’t often match the creativity nor craftsmanship of their heavier kin. The Clutter
was a pretty forgettable track; it just coasts through a simple chord play and really breathy whispers, its a pretty uneventful melancholic Taking Back Sunday
break up song. While this doesn't necessarily impede the entire listening experience it dampens the outlook. With that being said though, this is still a terrific debut and follow up to their EP, and I would not be shocked to see this band mentioned among the top ranks of their peers in the coming years. This cd is a commendable defense for a genre that is becoming diluted with carbon copy bands.
Album streaming - http://www.myspace.com/sightsandsounds
Recommendable tracks include: Sorrows
, Storm and the Sun