Review Summary: A truly classic album that uses beautifully crafted music and well thought out lyrics to take the listener to new places. Locus delivers something incredibly wonderful in their debut work.
Classic ratings are reserved for albums that entertain from start to finish with beautiful music that helps redefine what music is about, all while creating unique sensations for the listener. This is why I am careful about what I give ratings of “5” to. It just so happens "Habit@" is one of those albums. I have never felt so lucky to stumble upon an album in my life. With their debut effort Locus delivers an hour long album that sounds as though it was crafted by a seasoned band signed by a major record company. I realize this is high praise for a relatively unknown band, but "Habit@" is good enough to warrant it.
Now that I have managed to praise it let me explain why it is so good. First of all, great musicianship is presented. Try as I might I can not find the names of the members of the band. The only information I could get is they are from Colorado. However, the vocals are sung beautifully and the lyrics are well thought out. His voice never sounds strained and his lyrics never drone. The guitar work is just as great. There is nothing extremely technical but not once in the album does it feel as though the guitars are stuck on one chord. They provide interesting and alluring sound throughout the entire album. Let’s not forget about the drums. The drum work is wonderful as well, in fact it stands out just as much as the vocals and guitar work. Again nothing extremely technical is shown but something wonderfully beautiful is presented. Ethnic instruments are present as well. The important thing is the music presents itself in an intelligent way. Each song has everything that is needed to keep the listener interested without following a commonplace formula and manages to do more along the way. There is not one song that feels as though it is nothing more than filler.
Secondly the album flows brilliantly. One track goes into another without catching the listener off guard in an unpleasant way. There is never a point where I felt like I wanted to skip a song. Even upon multiple listens I never get an impulse to do so. This is the mark of a well thought out album that manages to do more than just provide a group of songs that sound good together. It makes the listener want to listen to the entire album multiple times. Replay value is a significant attribute to consider when rating an album. "Habit@" does not let down in this department.
Finally the album has great production quality. This is especially surprising considering Locus is an independent band as it is not uncommon to find lackluster production value in independent releases. I give props to whoever mixed and produced the album. Each individual instrument is clear and easy to hear. No muddling or washing of sound is present. The production makes the album easier and even more enjoyable to listen to. This is the icing on an already delicious cake. While I would still enjoy the album immensely with lesser production value, the fact it was produced with excellent quality locks this album into the top echelon.
"Habit@" gives me a certain feeling when listening to it that I have not felt since listening to "Lateralus". A feeling that is difficult to explain. If I had to try to describe it I would say it is similar to standing on the edge of a large cliff watching the sun set over water. It creates a wonderful, fulfilling sensation, all while managing to rock out. From the softer moments to the moments of thrashing never once does this feeling go away. It is truly a wonderful thing to experience, and why I feel so lucky to have found this album. I am glad Locus took the time to create such a beautiful album. I can tell a lot of hard work went into crafting "Habit@"
In review "Habit@" is a truly classic album in my collection. While it is not my favorite album of all time, it is certainly right up there, very close to the top. It has managed to be one of the few albums I am willing to give a score of “5”. As much as I have enjoyed the album I felt it would be unfair to give it anything less. It is difficult to pick a few songs to recommend from the album. But if I had to choose some I’d pick "Vices", "Rainmaker", and "The Crosses That Divide". I suppose these tracks manage to stand out above the rest, however slightly, and in this case that is a good thing.