I See Stars
The End of the World Party


2.5
average

Review

by Davey Boy STAFF
February 22nd, 2011 | 258 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Not the album you’d want to listen to if the end of the world was near.

Let’s be honest… No matter how well it may be performed, synth-core is a style of music which will always have its detractors. Whether you want to call it electronicore, screamocore, crabcore or crab chowder, it is a genre difficult not to make fun of due to its over the top characteristics, dubious artistic merit, and perception that it is a gimmicky fad that won’t even outlast nu-metal. While young Michigan sextet I See Stars did not exactly make cynics eat their words with debut LP ‘3-D’, their combination of metalcore drumming, synth-heavy breakdowns and dual clean & screaming vocals did make a few briefly re-think their stance on the sound’s potential. To that extent, the band’s follow-up release was always going to be interesting and, dare I say, even important.

The lead single and title track begins ‘The End of the World Party’ as you would expect… Spacey synths, pounding drums and Zach Johnson’s growling screams sandwich Devin Oliver’s catchy clean vocals, which contain an acceptable amount of auto-tune considering the theme of the track (an outer space party marking the end of the world!). This album highlight may be simply structured, but it contains - and nicely refines - all of the elements which fans of ‘3-D’ enjoyed. As soon as what appears to be Owl City’s ‘Fireflies’ (read: track 2 ‘Over It’) begins however, it is clear that this album will be anything but ‘3-D Part 2’. The simple, but soaring, guitars of the following ‘Still Not Quite Enough’ (which just happens to carry a disconcertingly Owl City like spoken word bridge), all but confirm the pop-punk leanings which are to follow.

Even though only 4 of the 11 tracks are completely devoid of screaming, it is clear that Johnson’s growling vocals have been markedly toned down to only complement the melodic cleans this time around. This, in itself, is not necessarily a bad decision, however the subsequent greater reliance on Oliver results in an overdose of mind-numbing auto-tune, reducing the effectiveness of even the better songs here. Likely to be the album’s barometer, the triumvirate of tracks which make up the mid-section of the LP ups the pitch correction technology to ridiculous levels, dumbs down the lyrics to the point where anybody out of high school will feel physically ill, and pumps the catchiness levels with enough sugar to fuel a candy store for a year. ‘Home for the Weekend’ is just plain awful, but both ‘It Will Be Up (High School Never Ends)’ and ‘Upside Down’ are infuriatingly infectious, no matter how much you want to hate them.

In striving a for a more accessible sound, I See Stars have purposefully reduced the extreme components which got them initially noticed. In addition to the screaming being pared down, the use of synth also seems a little stilted. The spacey effects hinted at early are not followed through on, while only ‘The Common Hours Part II’ allows any room for experimentation, with sounds ranging from video game like to a gothic metal vibe. The intended trade-off is clearly to infuse a poppier element via increased catchiness, and while that benefits tracks such as the sincere ‘When I Let You Down (Numb)’ & closer ‘Pop Rock & Roll’, it predominantly lands in between target audiences. ‘The End of the World Party’ does require a while for the change of approach to sink in, but ultimately has the same issue as its predecessor; it still feels like a gimmick that is decent in the moment, but lacks lasting value. Oh well, we should all look at the bright side and count ourselves lucky that Bizzy Bone does not reappear and contribute to another ‘worst song of the year’ contender!

Recommended Tracks: The End of the World Party, The Common Hours Part II & When I Let You Down (Numb).



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user ratings (335)
Chart.
2.3
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other reviews of this album
Chris Higgins (2)
Throwing everything away they seemed to create with their debut, I See Stars have hit a level which ...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Ponton
Emeritus
February 22nd 2011


5820 Comments


stop this madness

Digging: Gates - Bloom and Breathe

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
February 22nd 2011


20858 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Well I thought you were gonna help me out with "this madness", but then you got your metal mojo back & left me in the lurch.

Foxhound
February 22nd 2011


4570 Comments


crap as always, band needs to die

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
February 22nd 2011


20858 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Well, they do suggest the end of the world is coming. Would you like to go to their party on the moon.

bloc
February 22nd 2011


35024 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

You would have never found the full album if it wasn't for me, I demand some credit!

Album was awful on first listen, but now I am really liking it...

DinoX
February 22nd 2011


3582 Comments


Will there be cake?

Foxhound
February 22nd 2011


4570 Comments


i do not

Ponton
Emeritus
February 22nd 2011


5820 Comments


I shall return!

LG
February 22nd 2011


3049 Comments


I'm tired of this kind of shit

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
February 22nd 2011


20858 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Credit goes to bloc for purchasing the album & posting it out to me.

The sad thing was blocster, was that some people like that track & I thought it was really poor.

But foxhound, there will be cake. Lord knows what these guys would put in it though.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
February 22nd 2011


20858 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

LG, I think I was tired of this kind of shit as soon as it started. I still feel the debut EP by these guys is one of the largest pieces of garbage ever to be mentioned in the same sentence as the word "music". Sure, I think they were only 9 years old when they made it, but that's beside the point.

bloc
February 22nd 2011


35024 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Hey, I didn't purchase this! That would be crazy.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
February 22nd 2011


20858 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Oh yeah, a friend gave it to you & then you posted it out to me.

bloc
February 22nd 2011


35024 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

*shifts eyes*

Uhhhh yyyyyyeeeeeaaaaaaaahhhhhh that's riiiiiight

cvlts
February 22nd 2011


8986 Comments


jesus christ, man.

LG
February 22nd 2011


3049 Comments


Review would be a strong 3.5 if they'd been smart enough to add in some def covers.

botb
February 22nd 2011


9780 Comments


the recommended by reviewer actually made me angry

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
February 22nd 2011


20858 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

andcas, the party is on the moon... No, seriously.

TLiG, I've told you to stop calling me JC.

def covers? Like Pour Some Sugar On Me?

Sorry botb, I didn't mean to make you angry. Listen to the album & it will probably make you angrier.

LG
February 22nd 2011


3049 Comments


I was thinkin more like foolin, photograph and Mirror, Mirror

botb
February 22nd 2011


9780 Comments


haha its okay davey. i think i'll steer clear from this.



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