Review Summary: Hook-laden, keyboard-driven metalcore that adds the extra dimension to hold your attention.
Metalcore has become such a standard "genre by numbers" that it seems every release has to figure out a gimmick in order to stand out from the crowd. Of course, what people never seem to realize is that if enough people stand away from a collective at the same distance in the same direction, the crowd just starts to move. But while Numbers certainly deviate along the same path as others before them, they manage to veer far enough off the beaten path to be interesting.
Their secret weapon in doing so? Keyboards.
From the driving techno bleep-bloop overtones of "Ice On Fire" to the light, classical ivory ticklings at the beginning of "Bravery" and even the Jordan Rudess-style semi-comical circus-y interlude of the terribly named "Oh Teh Monies," the keyboard provides an agent of both unification of sound and differentiation of style. And while it's clear that the other instrumental performances are present and doing their thing, it's just as crystal that they keys are in the driver's seat. Though there are moments where the interplay between the instruments provides a great effect - be it the guitar lines in "Bravery" trading rhythm and lead with the spaced-out synth or the techno oriented keys profile accenting drum beats with pops, clicks, and a few high cymbal hits. Bass, meanwhile adds its own undercurrent that highlights the deeper sections of the track while busting out its own solo grooves in sections, including a spectacular breakout in "Ice On Fire" and a slow jazz break in "Please The Senses."
Of course, keyboard player Kyle Bishop has yet another wrinkle to his game. As the album's primary vocalist, he also manages to deliver clean vocal hooks throughout while augmenting them with well-paced growls, making for a dynamic, interesting, and very memorable listen on every track. While it's the electronic groove of tracks like "Ice On Fire" that will pique the listener's interest to begin with, it's vocal hooks like the following clean passage that keep it rustling around between the ears long after the track's stopped:
So get up, get out of this mess she made you clean up
I know, I know that she's taken everything
She's like ice on fire: she's hot from a distance but cold to the touch
Burning the skin as she gets too close
Freezing your heart as she touches your soul
Numbers are a group that bring enough of that little something extra to melodic metalcore to make them interesting and a group that brings enough hooks to give them quick recognition and a boost on the way up in the music scene. Put those two elements together and you may just have a group that's done enough to resist the stagnation surrounding the genre. Their sophomore release will have to do the deciding there. But for now, there's plenty of material bouncing from wall to wall on this album to indulge your good and varied taste in music and your ADD at the same time.