Review Summary: Mixes elements of screamo, hardcore, and post-rock in order to create one of the best albums of 2011.
It is difficult to identify what a screamo band truly sounds like. Many believe that this genre of music sprung out of hardcore punk in the late 80’s. The main difference between these two genres would be the fact that compared to its predecessor, screamo was much darker and melodic, and it sounded as if it was produced by frustrated young people who were unsure of how they were going to navigate through the rest of their lives. Now, taking this definition by heart, Pianos Become the Teeth’s sophomore album, The Lack Long After, can definitely be considered screamo.
Spanning over eight tracks and thirty-eight minutes, The Lack Long After draws you in and never lets go with its sheer intensity and visceral emotion. The sound that they create is a resonating wall of sound, and this sound is what sets them apart from all the other screamo bands out there today. The chaos within this album is not too sure of itself, and whereas many bands create fists clenched, guns a-blazing chaos, Pianos Become the Teeth go much deeper than that on this record, adding sadness, loss, and helplessness on top of the usual rage.
Vocalist Kyle Durfey is a perfect representation of this sound, due to the fact that his screams are remarkably fragile, yet powerful and demanding at the same time, thus flowing well with the overall nature of this record. His voice seems like a star that is about to explode, due to the emotional weight that he carries. The vocals and instrumentation also complement each other excellently as when Durfey pulls back, so does the instrumentation, thus letting Durfey’s voice vibrate viscerally, waiting for the torrents of guitars to come back later and swoop the song away.
The instrumental aspect however, is not just there to support the vocals in a functional sense, but they are rather the origins of the vocals existence. Due to the fact that Durfey’s shouts may become overbearing at times, it is easy to miss out on the subtle innovation that the instrumentation on this album brings to the table. The music is plastered with schizophrenic melodic and rhythmic changes, going from snare-driven shambles to power balladic moments to power-chord wielding choruses. From the opening track onwards, it’s nothing but multi-layered guitars and abrupt tempo changes.
Brimming with heart-wrenching passion and experimental ambience, Pianos Become the Teeth breathes new life onto a decaying scene, taking you on a ride that is exhilarating, unique and well-worth experiencing.