Review Summary: The best parts of this album overshadow the rest which shows that Retractable Claws could have been a lot more than it is.
Retractable Claws is the perfect example of a good idea and a horrible execution. They play mathcore which is quite reminiscent of the post rock brand of screamo. This mix of genres is just fine by itself, and the main flaw of this album is that the band tries way too hard to break boundaries by (kind of) adding a more progressive aspect to it. As you would expect from a band releasing their very first album, they fail. On top of that, they continually make simple mechanical errors while trying to play their instruments. One would assume that a band, who thinks they are ready to release their first full length LP, would at least know how to play their own songs. They play math music, but every time they try to change time signatures the transition sounds sloppy and lazy. This is mostly thanks to the drummer, Jeff Kraus, who seems to get lost a lot in the music. He is the sole cause of the band members losing sync with each other throughout the album.
Like I previously stated, it seems like Victor! Fix the Sun try way too hard add a progressive aspect to their music. For example, in most if not all of the songs on the album there is some obnoxiously long, drawn out middle section. These long boring middle sections kill every song on the album, save for the last song, and take up so much of the music that the songs don't actually contain that much yelling/screaming. I wouldn't have a problem with this except for the fact that the vocalist is arguably the best aspect to the band. Don't get me wrong, the vocalist is not amazing, it is just that he is the only member of the band that doesn't screw up constantly. While listening to Retractable Claws there is the constant thought that in one of their band practices, one of the band members suggested that they wanted to try and make the music more progressive.
Retractable Claws is by no means a horrible album. In fact if the musicians themselves didn't make so many careless mistakes it would probably even be good. "A Different Shade of Blue Turned Grayscale" and " ...Two Fingers Twisted in the Middle" are great tracks that show some real potential. The former still has the long, boring, drawn out middle section, but the latter does not. The best thing about these two songs is that they are both basically mistake free and not nearly as sloppy as the rest of the record. At least the band ends it on a good note, which counts. Also, it would have been better if they would have more vocals since Ryan Martin (vocals) sounds fairly good. I would describe his style as kind of like Aaron Weiss on A to B: Life
if he sounded more emotive. But seriously, if you want to listen to this album don't bother with the whole thing. Just listen to the last track eight times. That track is awesome and it is what this album could have been if it weren't for all the suck.
Final Rating: 2