Review Summary: I was swept under the current of my own naiveté, taken aback by crimes against conscience unconsciously..
Here in the south we have a little something called jambalaya. It’s this dish collaboration consisting of meat, vegetables, and spices. It seems that no matter what you add to it, it always comes out with the same ubiquitous taste. But, every once in a while, your mom will go out, buy something outrageously crazy, and it comes out tasting very different... BUT GOOD!
In the past decade, a group of kids from suburbs heard music from bands like Envy, At the Drive-in, Brand New, Thursday and fell instantly in love. The fact that some bands were willing to play passionate music and not have to worry about other people’s opinion was intriguing to them, and us all.
With post-hardcore on the verge of extinction, bands like La Dispute, Touché Amore, and Pianos Become the Teeth stepped out of the realm of post-clichés, and decided to revolutionize the genre, by taking it back to its roots. They wanted post-hardcore to have its more subtle sound that pertains to post-rock instead of a lousy form of metal-core where one vocalist vomits disturbing growls from his mouth, and the other upchucks vocals that sound damn near to rainbows and unicorns. These dinky bands have no chemistry, and most of the times don’t even write their own music. This is where Barrow steps in (along with others), and shows the world that anybody in this country can make a change.
The first track ‘Where I Was’ is one that will have your nostalgic juices flowing and force you to reminisce over old bands like Taking Back Sunday, Thrice, and At The Drive-in. Every strum of the guitar seems to give purpose to the overall track as a whole. I seriously started to swoon to this album the 2nd time over. This just goes to show how quickly you can become attached to this band, and their music. Each song is crafted with technical excellence, such as “Ashen, Pallid.” This song really protrudes their ability to shake it up, and make everything sound fresh and different. Each track is so incredibly radiant, that I feel I don’t have to listen to the full album all the way through to get “the full effect.” This leads me to say, “Great job Vocalists!” I have never, in my life, heard a record with so many vocal variations. Screams are screeching at just that right pitch to complement every song. The album features a few guest appearances from Stephen Price who I am told is the producer of the album, and a guy named Gage Speas. They each flaunt their talents in tracks “Ashen, Pallid” and “An Absent Crown, My Diadem.”
The instruments of this record are also nothing short of spectacular. Every riff is perfectly timed with the drums and the two singers’ vocals. Instrumentation at times seems a bit ever-present to this genre, but it works for them. In the background of a few songs I could hear some strings. I’m not quite sure if it was a cello or a violin but it really sent a chill up my spine when it was played in the right part of the song.
If I had one complaint for the entire record, it would be that each song is so diverse, that it seems to take away from the message that the band is trying to exemplify. I wouldn’t mind so much diversity if the record was an hour long, but it seems that the music at times is cluttered and has no room to breathe. The band strives to make every track different, but it is a bit overweening at times. Consistency is often a penchant to this scene, but they seem to avoid that and just do what ever the hell they feel like. BUT hey, that's what music is all about...
"Any good music must be an innovation."
All in all, the band is very talented and has a whole bunch of tricks still left up their sleeves. I mean come on, this is their freshman album, and they have created one of the best albums of the 2011. I can’t wait to see what they put out next. Let the world know that post-hardcore, is still alive!