Review Summary: But it's the simple thoughts that haunt me the most. I never got to see the west coast
Bands often go through lineup changes throughout their career. Bassists usually cycle in and out, occasionally a guitarist or a drummer will head in a separate direction than the band. But every once in a while an integral member of the band leaves and the band is suddenly faced with a hard decision. Emery went through this exact problem, when earlier in the month Devin Shelton, one of the two lead singers that helped push Emery to the top of the Post-Hardcore world, announced his rather sudden departure from the band. Fans were left in shock, wondering just exactly what this would do to the sound that Emery has built their career upon. Would the beautiful vocal melodies disappear? What would come of the classic trading back and forth between Shelton and Toby Morrell? The remaining four members of Emery promised that the record would be their heaviest to date, despite the last two tracks being acoustic. Well it seems that the boys in Emery were once again correct in assessing the sound of their latest release and this translates to one of the most hard-hitting, honest and all around solid releases to date for Emery.
Toby Morrell : Vocals
Matt Carter : Guitar
Josh Head : Keys/Vocals
Dave Powell: Drums
We Do What We Want
is indeed the heaviest album that the Seattle based post-hardcore vets have ever released, something that is made bluntly apparent about 5 seconds in to album opener The Cheval Glass
. The song, while only clocking in at 3:16, is chockfull of just about anything you could name, from breakdowns, to synth/piano lead hooks. The song itself continues on wonderfully until around the final minute, where one of the most simplistic 4/4 breakdowns I have ever heard, almost ruins it. Key word…Almost. It seems that almost everything that Emery does on this album works. (Opposed to when they tried to progress in I’m Only A Man) Whether it’s the blast beat ridden intro of Scissors, the guitar solo to end I’m Not Here To Rage, I’m Here For Revenge
or the entirely acoustic finales, everything seems like it belongs. Nothing seems forced, nothing seems out of place or lazy.
The song writing present on We Do What We Want has also increased almost ten fold, it seems. With the departure of Devin Shelton, the song writing responsibilities landed on Morrell and Carter, and it is pretty obvious which direction they wanted to take the band. Now when some bands say they wrote “heavy” music they tend to lose originality and just try to “break it down” for 3:30 without any sort of deviance from the cookie-cutter heavy bands out there today. But not Emery. We Do What We Want is Emery’s most frantic album and with that it is their least predictable. The song structures are all over the place, something I thought I would never see from Emery. Don’t get me wrong, there are still plenty of sailing choruses and just the right amount of melodic breakdowns, but almost every song will keep you guessing, whether it be tempo changes, or just shifts in the song entirely.
Along with the song writing present on this album, the abilities of the musicians has also seen a drastic growth, most notably with drummer Dave Powell. It was always known that Powell was a solid drummer, in all honesty he was the saving grace for me during I’m Only A Man but the drum beats that he writes on this album are actually spectacular in places. He seems to have discovered his love for double bass, because it is prominent throughout, most noticeably in hard-hitter Scissors. It was also no secret that Matt Carter knew his way around a guitar, but with this release we see him really hit his stride, often writing intricate, weaving, riffs. He also often utilizes the use of a third guitar, which with certain artists can become a bit of overkill, but not here. But the biggest growth to be found on We Do What We Want would be the harsh vocals. Often said to be the weakest aspect of Emery, the screams take over this CD and with splendid results. The screams are tight and biting, which in turn makes the (admittedly weaker than previous efforts) vocal harmonies seem so much stronger.
It seems that the members of Emery have really hit their stride, and made the album that they
wanted to make, with We Do What We Want. Lyrically they also are not afraid to venture into any territory, as evidenced by, what I personally believe to be Emery’s strongest track to date, I Never Got To See The West Coast
. The song is not afraid to blatantly speak about suicide. It’s not shrouded in metaphor or buried deep in subtext, it is right out there for everyone to see. And for anyone to relate to. It is purely a breathtaking and heart wrenching song.
We Do What We Want showcases Emery doing just that; exactly what they want. You can take it or leave it; I don’t think that they would mind in the slightest. This is the album they wanted to make and in that way it is the album that seems they were always destined to make.