Review Summary: Fans of high production steer clear. "Open Up Finders, Please" is very raw, but very satisfying.3 of 3 thought this review was well written
Frantic. Chaotic. Moody as hell. Extremely Emotional. Angry. Spastic. Bi-polar and somehow soothing. These are some words that come to mind when listening to Age Sixteen's debut album "Open Up Finders, Please". The album completely grabs you from the opening riff of "Peter Pan Complex" to the last scream on "The Lion and the Gazelle". No song lasts too long, yet no song is too short. The only real complaint is there aren't enough songs. Clocking in at less than 30 minutes, it's just not enough and it leaves you wanting so much more. One thing I think is very rad is A16’s DIY attitude. The albums are all handmade and pressed by the band. For each new pressing they give the cover art a different color and hand number every album. Stuff like that is just so cool, but I digress.
OUFP reaches that epic level that most bands never hit multiple times. "Dear Judas" is the best example. It assaults you from the very beginning with Kris shouting "Get off your high horse!" with highly energetic guitar riffs following. Tommy's drumming is absolutely fantastic, keeping the music moving at such a frantic pace without ever losing himself in the odd beats and fills. As the song progresses, it keeps that intensity (both vocally and musically) for a while only to completely drop out after reaching the height of the intensity. It goes into a very soft, slow part with Kris just doing spoken word vocals (in the same style as older mewithoutYou) for a short time. Without warning it picks back up into another very "age sixteen" moment: heavy hitting music at an intense pace only to drop out again and end the song that way.
The older songs that were re-recorded sound great. “Fabric”, “Peter Pan Complex”, and “Everything is a Tide” all have nice, new guitar leads and better drumming than before. The only song that really just comes off as awkward is “As Personal as a Greeting Card” (great name, though). The beginning is really what throws it off with the strange screaming by Justin over quick guitar and drumming. It never really recovers and just when it begins to get better it ends without ever really proving itself.
The other song that really stands out is "Seasick". It’s the longest song on the album (3:19) and an overall incredible song. It's very moody, fairly somber for the first half of the song. The song opens up with simple spoken word vocals, over very atmospheric music, along with drumming that's heavier on the cymbals to give it that feeling on an impending build up. That build up doesn't come for some time; it's nothing more than a tease, but a good one at that. With Kris putting on his most emotional performance yet and Justin and Jon doing some very intricate guitar work, it's very memorable from the start. Once it builds up it holds a heavier sound till the last 30 seconds where it slows down very drastically, going back to a somber guitar sound over the most emotional moment of the album. The drums are heavy as ever, the guitar and bass are very light, both Kris and Justin and screaming their asses off in a moment that should give anyone those chills you get when a song is just so fantastic.
"Open Up Finders, Please" is certainly not for everyone. It's very raw, sounding a lot like their live show does. That being said, it does a fantastic job of holding the intensity Age Sixteen is known for during a live show... and isn't that what an album's really about? Haters on the production can still appreciate the music and real music lovers will appreciate it fully, for the chaotic beauty that is Age Sixteen. With “Open Up Finders, Please” everyone wins.