Emery
...In Shallow Seas We Sail


1.5
very poor

Review

by Eric USER (161 Reviews)
June 27th, 2010 | 501 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist


It’s a tragedy, listening helplessly as the glorious genres of yesterday waste away. We’ve heard catastrophes like this before; and chances are, it’ll probably happen with your genre of choice eventually if it hasn’t already. Nobody’s immune. The purists of post-hardcore’s glory days, yesteryear, can only moan and bitch in dismay as bands like Emery gain more and more undeserved prominence. ...In Shallow Seas We Sail serves as the perfect personification of the new post-hardcore aesthetics replacing the old. The popular Christian band is the face of the demise, the fall of something beautiful. ...In Shallow Seas We Sail is an output that, intentionally or not, is watered down ad infinitum, equally disappointing in its direct output and the effect of the deplorable music on display.

“Evolution!” fans of Emery are sure to cry out in unison (an annoying mixture of screaming and melodic singing, most likely) in response to this reviewer’s disgust, “Just because it’s different doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad!” This is certainly true. But not only does Emery drive the last, gaudy nail into the coffin of post-hardcore with their putrid music (via Tooth and Nail records, nonetheless), they do so with no grace, no style. In the process of providing the record with hooks and melody galore, Emery somehow forgets to blend these elements together with post-hardcore’s tenets: passionate screams, dynamic rhythms, precise guitars, and dissonance to name a few. Emery could have simply provided an album full of cringe-worthy moments like the title track, which would have fit nicely on a Red Jumpsuit Apparatus album. It’s embarrassing enough to listen to ...In Shallow Seas for songs like this alone, but then I’m introduced to the tasteless blend of these qualities throughout the entire record, with such monotony. The quick transitions, the screaming, the last remnants of anything punk all become infinitely cheapened. Basically, it makes me want to throw Emery over the edge of a moving boat in a cutely illustrated scene with vague meaning.

The sheer concept of blending post-hardcore with characteristics that appeal to a wide audience isn’t completely absurd. Dismayingly, ...In Shallow Seas is an ignominious effort at the tactic, from all sides. The mild, poppy choruses of “Piggy Back Lies” are just awkward and unbefitting when they’re placed alongside the sharp screaming. There’s no attempt by Emery to blend the two elements together into something more appropriate. Ever tried to make a protein shake or something of an equal equivalent, but the powder refuses to dissipate into the liquid? That’s what Emery tastes like, sour and repugnant.

...In Shallow Seas isn’t a product entirely filled with obnoxious, tasteless garbage, though. “Curbside Goodbye” and “Butcher’s Mouth” provide a nice respite. These songs in particular grant a fluidity to the genre-mashing that exists elsewhere on ...In Shallow Seas. More importantly, they accomplish what Emery diehards love about the band- make post-hardcore accessible... but at what cost?

To cover my bases, catchiness will never be an adequate reason for disliking music. The manner in which Emery butchers all facets of grace and sincerity once present in post-hardcore to achieve this more widespread appeal, though, is simply unforgivable. An intensely Christian band, Emery preaches messages of love and beauty throughout. "We wanna show people that love is the greatest thing, not in a worldly way, but just a compassionate way. That's our message,” drummer Seth Studley explains. A noble goal, but Emery fails miserably, instead delivering a dismal disappointer that doesn’t even respect the listener enough to provide some variance. I wouldn’t want to outright accuse Emery of “dumbing down” the post-hardcore aesthetic for more listeners simply because it fits precisely into their aim of reaching as wide an audience as possible with their Christian ideals, but it’s not a preposterous suggestion. Either way, ...In Shallow Seas We Sail, as an album, is proof enough that some things just don’t mix comfortably; and Emery’s rendition of accessible post-hardcore is altogether cringeworthy.

By the closing of Emery’s 2009 release, I’m left solidified with my opinions on the music at hand, yet confused on one subject: What’s worse, the sound of watered down, dumbed down, artistic embarrassment, or the premise that a myriad of bands now imitate this sound to even worse effects? A long time ago, bands in the scene took hints from the likes of Steve Albini’s groups like Shellac or Big Black. Later, post-hardcore would learn to take a page out of the book Fugazi, Nation of Ulysses, and Rites of Spring wrote, among others. Glassjaw and At the Drive-In ushered in a new generation of the genre with their take on a more alternative-based sound. Bands like Thursday and Thrice then provided some cushioning between then and now, but sadly Emery stand as one of the forbears. This is a problem.

Perhaps one of the most telling dangers of this shift in inclinations can be seen in Emery’s most passionate fans. Please excuse the somewhat bitter generalizations, but it seems to me that most Emery fans wouldn’t know what “R.o.C.” stands for, or that Armchairpolitician just looks like too many words squished together, or that Songs About Fucking exists solely as sinful pornography. ...In Shallow Seas We Sail is Emery selling the soul of post-hardcore and relishing in the success the transaction has bestowed undeservingly upon them. A bit cynical? Maybe, but ...In Shallow Seas We Sail is convincing evidence of a steep drop-off in the livelihood of a once-exuberant genre of music.



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user ratings (1047)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
1 of

Comments:Add a Comment 
SeaAnemone
June 27th 2010


20826 Comments


if only to take some attention off of CTTS

Enotron
June 27th 2010


7695 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

In before what will be pages and pages of redundant comments, mindless spam, annoyed fans and people who are like "yeah this review is really good"(that would be me).



SeaAnemone
June 27th 2010


20826 Comments


it needed to be said.


and thanks, eno, I think I'm ready

porch
June 27th 2010


8460 Comments


eric i love you

to answer your shoutbox question, it's the whole "watered down" aspect of this band that I dislike.
Plus it's just boring as hell

will read this properly now

SeaAnemone
June 27th 2010


20826 Comments


thanks Poops, sadly I don't think the rest of the site will be as agree-able, but as long as you and I are happy I'm good.

theacademy
Staff Reviewer
June 27th 2010


28775 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

FUCKING DIE

Helvete
June 27th 2010


1354 Comments


theres gonna be some rage

^ oh hey look i was right

porch
June 27th 2010


8460 Comments


possibly post-hardcores finest ever

Enotron
June 27th 2010


7695 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

wait, this isn't one of those bands who have one singer who screams and the other who does "clean vocals", is it?


robertsona
Staff Reviewer
June 27th 2010


15067 Comments


this is probably awful

theacademy
Staff Reviewer
June 27th 2010


28775 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

lol "band" is singular, SeaA... (first paragraph)

SeaAnemone
June 27th 2010


20826 Comments


academy: not necesarily, I've heard both ways. I've just been told to stay consistent.

theacademy
Staff Reviewer
June 27th 2010


28775 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

academy: not necesarily, I've heard both ways. I've just been told to stay consistent.


wow, sorry buddy. if you were using the band's name, like "Emery" or "Korn" or "The Mamas and the Papas" it could go either way.

But you just say 'The band are...' which is unequivocally wrong...

I'm also not negging but i've negged for wayyyy less, man.

renegadestrings
June 27th 2010


1466 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

i'm really happy to read a negative review on this.

i saw the insane amount of praise given to this album, so i bought it back in december.

it has yet to make any impression on me... it all sounds painfully average despite some enjoyable moments

accompliceofmydeath
June 27th 2010


4297 Comments


It should be pretty clear that old post-hardcore > new post-hardcore

Digging: Weekend Nachos - Unforgivable

porch
June 27th 2010


8460 Comments


It should be pretty clear but a lot of people don't even know what old post hardcore is

it's a completely meaningless term now tbh

SeaAnemone
June 27th 2010


20826 Comments


theacademy: oops! you're totally right, I thought you were referring to something else, thanks for the catch! don't know how that got in there

theacademy
Staff Reviewer
June 27th 2010


28775 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

np

[img]http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_D2DO9ibMP0U/TBXBHVJfDoI/AAAAAAAAA-E/eggGJSy4ryA/s1600/thiswasallmyfault.jpg[/img]

YOU RUINED THIS FOR ME

theacademy
Staff Reviewer
June 27th 2010


28775 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

this is basically users vs. staff in graphical representation.


YOU ARE THE ENEMERY

SeaAnemone
June 27th 2010


20826 Comments


haha idk about user v. staff considering DAVEY


but yeah, awesome comparison



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