Review Summary: A distinct and epic blend of post-hardcore in emo is the theme for My Heart To Joy's debut. Also, consider the fact that this is one of La Dispute's favorites of 2009. Need I say more? OK... I will.
Savor it. Soak it in, because like the crisp, golden rays of sun on a harsh wintry day, this is golden and warming. Seasons In Verse
is a splendid mixture- one part emotional vocals, one part post-hardcore instrumentation. Sound interesting? Well, add that to the fact that Seasons In Verse
was one of Michigan post-hardcore extraordinaires, La Dispute’s, favorite releases of the year. Unencumbered by long-running anthems and instead concentrating on a more refined and niche-focused grand design, My Heart To Joy’s full-length debut is a successful and uplifting testament to the up-and-coming band from Connecticut. And for what it lacks for in variation and originality, it certainly makes up for with more aesthetic qualities like beauty and cohesiveness.
More ambitious than first meets the ear, Seasons In Verse
shows that a subdued and controlled approach to qualities already mastered by other bands can certainly still result in a more than favorable output. It erupts into a product more that’s pensive and regal without sounding pretentious or too wieldy. Every song is like the piece of a puzzle, and their similarity makes it difficult to analyze this Seasons In Verse
by the song. The overall sound, on the other hand, is very melodic and easier to distinguish. The rhythm section provides a bit of contrast in a more powerful and simplistic approach. The songs are often a build-up to the edge until they finally make the jump and tip off, only to survive and repeat the same thing a few moments later. Take the first song with vocals, for instance, “Empty Homes.” Layers of sounds (often very downbeat) are added on top of each other until you eventually hear the song erupt with the more frantic and emotional vocals while still sounding perfectly calm somehow. And boy are you glad they survive the fall, because each song shows a refined and calculated progression, in contrast to the more sporadic nature elsewhere on Season In Verse
. The most obvious of these facets being the yelled vocals. While the album begins with the instrumental, brooding “Time Spent Breathing,” they quickly ditch that style in favor of incorporating clear and crisp yells throughout. The lyrics aren’t particularly genius, but they certainly match the epic manner which My Hear To Joy has a knack for, ending songs like “Seasons In Verse” with, “Rebuild the forest with kinder words / To warm the air with an open heart / Lakes like mirrors reflect this honesty / Empty seasons have moved on past our reach.”
It’s a splendid and intriguing skill on display here on Seasons In Verse
, as they manage to pull off sublime build-ups whilst resisting giving off an air of pretension. The sincerity is very present not only in the strong vocals, but also the raw production. While this quality can become a bit annoying here or there, it’s a quality that certainly matches the aesthetic made prominent by My Heart To Joy. Put the catchy choruses and traditional song structure on hold, because My Heart To Joy threw it out the window a long time ago. In its place is something to match the mood, much more organic, yet epic at the same time.
The glaring fault is, of course, that there’s a marked lack of variation from song to song. And while this is definitely In short, Season In Verse
follows a trajectory. It’s not in any way difficult to sit through the sometimes-tedious single songs, but as “Watch Me Live” comes to a close you’ll be left with a warming feeling of satisfaction and even renewal. Because, My Heart To Joy make you realize, even amidst the raw production and harsh yelling, or the wintry cold and bitter days, there still lies the potential for satisfaction and exuberance, similar to the potential that lies within this new band.