Envy On The Coast
Lowcountry


4.5
superb

Review

by Greg Fisher STAFF
April 20th, 2010 | 89 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A vibrant, energetic and superbly conceived album that will certainly emerge as one of the best rock releases of the year.

When Envy On The Coast released their debut album "Lucy Gray" back in 2007, it was not very easy to distinguish them from other post-hardcore bands. "Lucy Gray" wasn't a bad album per se utilizing its pop punk aesthetics with quite unusual technical instrumentation. However, it failed to garner respect and popularity this act so clearly deserved. It isn't surprising that the gap between "Lucy Gray" and their latest release Lowcountry amounted to as many as 3 years. The new album seems way more consistent marking the significant change of style for the already mature band.

"Lowcountry" almost totally abandons the pop-punk influences of "Lucy Gray" with the band opting for the sound that has much more common with funk, southern rock and even blues. The tempo has drastically slowed with almost every song based on heavy, often funky rhythm section that starkingly resembles Incubus and Red Hot Chili Peppers in their most streamlined mode. Bass guitarist Jeremy Velardi along with the band's vocalist made to play drums, Ryan Hunter seldom fall victim to routine delivering an array of varied groovy passages. Guitarists Brian Byrne and Sal Bassio steer clear of distorted riffs in favor of clean sound. In consequence, the guitar tracks are way more stylish, moody, not to mention impressive bringing the band's southern rock fascination to the foreground.

Taking into account the instrumentation one doubts that "Lowcountry" has anything to do with post-hardcore. The inclinations towards this genre are only hearable in Ryan Hunter's vocal lines that range from screaming to clean falsetto singing. Hunter finally proves that he is a more than competent singer by introducing a variety of approaches. Even though his style is mostly derivative, he tends to mix his post-hardcore, funk and r&b influences very effectively. His only evident blunder is "The Great American T-shirt Racket" in which he sounds exactly the same as Brandon Boyd of Incubus fame. On the plus side though, his vocals often shine like in the amazing uptempo chorus of "Head First In The River" or in the blissfully schizophrenic "Clean Of You" in which he convincingly channels Mike Patton.

While "Lowcountry" doesn't present anything groundbreaking in terms of songwriting, it still possesses its very own sound that makes it coherent all the time no matter how diverse the songs included appear to be. This diversity happens to be one of the album's greatest strengths. "The Devil's Tongue "is immediate in its approach with the contrast between slinging section and high-pitched vocal working wonders. The single "Head First In The River" is an insanely catchy tune taking full advantage of reggae influences in the verse and infectious chorus, whereas "Puritan Dirt Song" is the closest to blues rock they've ever gotten with the heavy use of hammond organ. "Southern Comfort" is an ambitious attempt at more epic songwriting and the closer "Clean Of You" has some really menacing charm to it that is impossible to resist. In general, energy-fueled tracks work way better than the mellow ones. R&b-induced "Like I Do" fails to be memorable as well as "Numb" feels forced with its cliched lyrics. It's surprising because Hunter's lyrics inspired by Jeffrey McDaniel's poetry are usually clever and far from being stereotypical. Hunter presents an often subversive, bitter-sweet outlook on the world that abounds in apt observations and poetic touches.

Overall, the status of "Lowcountry" as the breakthrough album for Envy On The Coast is undeniable. With their sophomore release, the band takes a risk of using a totally different approach to songwriting that showcases their adoration to the American South. Although this cannot be regarded as the safest decision considering the odds it may disappoint their old fans, they remain triumphant showing an undeniable growth and maturity. Taking all slight missteps aside, "Lowcountry" is a vibrant, energetic and superbly conceived album that will certainly emerge as one of the best rock releases of the year.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
greg84
Staff Reviewer
April 20th 2010


7464 Comments

Album Rating: 4.7

The video to Head First In the River:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=725sVm6gRn4&playnext_from=TL&videos=_cGsoSlp4_M

Enjoy!

AmericnZero02
April 20th 2010


3360 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Solid review, man. I need to quit being lazy and buy this.

Digging: Copeland - Ixora

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
April 20th 2010


17945 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this album is really good

good revue

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
April 20th 2010


20858 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great review Greg. You really touch on a lot of things over the course of it. Worthy of a pos.

Album sounds very interesting & I shall get around to it soon enough.


Oceanus
April 20th 2010


877 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sweet review.

Like I Do puts me in a trance.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
April 21st 2010


7464 Comments

Album Rating: 4.7

Thanks a lot guys. I did some small edits here and there.

The current rating (4.2) seems appropriate for this album.

focksy
April 21st 2010


437 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

just saw them live and bought this

sounded like the singer had 8 dicks in his mouth though the sound was terrible

natey
April 21st 2010


4170 Comments


i always thought the singer sucked dick UNTIL I saw them live last friday. it was weird though he was like "it's gay when people have to get fucked up to have a good time nom nom" then I saw him at the bar later orderin up J├Ąger

PanasonicYouth
April 21st 2010


7412 Comments


when i saw them the dude was standing in the back with a bottle of somethin in his hand all during the tfot set
they were the shit live tho

natey
April 21st 2010


4170 Comments


yeah I thought their sound was great. maybe technically better than tfot's although I love tfot's
noisy sound. the bassists gear crapped for like ten minutes and they just jammed without him and it
was incredibly cool

tuk
April 21st 2010


151 Comments


I don't find The Great American T-Shirt Racket to be a blunder only because he sounds a tiny bit like Brandon on this one. One of my favourite refrains on the record.

LiquidVelvet
April 21st 2010


628 Comments


This album is SO GOOD asdkhgf

greg84
Staff Reviewer
April 21st 2010


7464 Comments

Album Rating: 4.7

@ I don't find The Great American T-Shirt Racket to be a blunder only because he sounds a tiny bit like Brandon on this one. One of my favourite refrains on the record.

I didn't say this is a bad song. I actually find it very enjoyable. Like you said the chorus is killer, just the vocals in verses are too reminiscent of Incubus, to put it gently.

focksy
April 21st 2010


437 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

i dont like that 9, 10, and 11 are all slower songs

greg84
Staff Reviewer
April 21st 2010


7464 Comments

Album Rating: 4.7

Yeah. They slow down the flow of album quite a bit. Out of these tracks Made Of Stone is my favorite. I'd probably replace Numb with Clergy out of the deluxe edition of the album. It's still a mellow track, but way more layered/interesting.

Ponton
Emeritus
April 21st 2010


5820 Comments


Good review, greg.

I remember listening to a few songs of this when it first started streaming, though I'm not sure its my thing

I will, however, definitely check out cilice when I can.

Digging: Gates - Bloom and Breathe

focksy
April 22nd 2010


437 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

unless a staff/contrib is doing a review for this, i think we should feature this review

greg84
Staff Reviewer
April 23rd 2010


7464 Comments

Album Rating: 4.7

I guess you need to publish 50+ reviews in order to get featured. It's a shame because it's an excellent album that really needs a boost because plenty of people on this site would definitely like it (if they knew it exists).

Ponton
Emeritus
April 23rd 2010


5820 Comments


The mods can and will feature someone who has only written one review - if it's good and for a new release.

The only reason this couldn't get featured is because it was release on March 30th. The mods almost always only feature on the week of release.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
April 23rd 2010


7464 Comments

Album Rating: 4.7

All right. Thanks for the info. I wouldn't even care if it was an average or only passable album, but it's my second favorite release of the year (only slightly surpassed by Option Paralysis). For some reasons, it's not really popular here (like the majority of albums I've reviewed).



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