Review Summary: Two of SoCal’s hardcore darlings team up to swing their fists.
When you compare Love American and Harbours on paper, they really aren’t that different. Both are California DIY hardcore bands, trying their damndest to make something of themselves, other than concert-goers and college students of course. But deeper than that they are two bands pounding the SoCal hardcore circuit, playing shows, and writing songs that they should be proud of. This split marks the last studio appearance of Javier Ramirez for Love American and yet another solid outing for Harbours.
Since Harbours and Love American don’t differ in style that much, they made a perfect match for a split. Matt’s screams are exactly the same quality found on their EP from earlier this year. Matching riff for riff, Harbours create a searing sound as Matt screams over pounding drums in the end of “Promises”. The other song for Harbours song doesn’t quite hold the energy that the previous one did. “Untitled” seems to focus more on the buildup and instrumental of the song rather than intensity of the previous one, drawing from the post rock area of screamo.
Whether it was because of the lengthy production put into the album or the inevitable departure of Javier, one cannot be sure, but Love American’s side of the split is the stronger of the two. Most notably on “Kayfabe”, Javier’s vocals have been fine tuned into perfect screams. The guitar melody throughout the song and the drum fills at the end make for the strongest song on this split. On the second song of Love American’s side, Javier again dominates and leads the song, with the guitars chugging for a heavier post-hardcore beat.
Let’s be honest; these are two of the best DIY hardcore bands that California has to offer at the moment. The split holds Love American’s best material and another solid pair of songs from Harbours. They’ve created an exciting, enthralling record that should shoot to the top of the hardcore albums list for 2011. Not only is there a bright future for these bands, but this split should be exactly what they need to launch them past their base of underground fans.