Review Summary: Saosin's breakthrough album is a solid debut that can be overplayed and inconsistent at times.
One of the aspects of getting older and expanding your taste in music is that albums you once thought were the greatest in the world start to show their flaws. This album has a special place in my heart because I first listened to this on a retreat to Maine with my friends. Everytime I listen to this the fun memories start to fill my head. However, Saosin’s self titled debut is no exception to being ultimately flawed. Right off the bat the band shows a considerable amount of talent. When Saosin gets it right on this album, hell they really hit home. Unfortunately, once you start to hear songs that sound similar and incredibly overplayed rhythms you realize that the album that was once your favorite album has not held up as well as you thought it would. If two or three tracks were taken out of it then this would have made quite a record.
The album’s overall sound is that of a alt rock/post hardcore sound. The production is extremely polished and some of the songs on their s/t are nothing short of exhilarating. The album kicks off with a bang with “It’s Far Better To Learn” as skillful drumming, a catchy guitar riff and Cove’s impressive high octave voice set in. This song easily demonstrates all of the album’s strengths because it is sung and played beautifully. However, “Sleepers” is a substantial dip in quality quite early in the album. Pretty much everything is overwhelmingly overdone and it feels very incomplete because it abruptly ends. The music is toned down a bit in “It’s So Simple,” but this time Cove’s best asset, his high octave range, is his downfall. Sure he hits notes that most vocalists could even dream of hitting, but how high he goes in “It’s So Simple” feels out of place with the music.
Thankfully, things start to improve when the next album highlight “Voices” begins. The lyrical content is empowering as Cove sings about speaking our minds in the chorus. The song couldn’t end any better with Cove once again being the highlight in addition to great instrumentals. Unfortunately, the middle section of the album suffers from repetition and inconsistency.
“Follow And Feel” immediately recalls “Sleepers” because of its guitar playing and rhythm. "Collapse" also sounds painfully similar for the same reasons. While these songs are not bad in way, it would have helped if the band just kept out “Sleepers” and “Follow And Feel” because “Collapse" is the dominant song out of the three because of its infectious riff and gangs vocals.
As the album comes to a close, the strengths begin to shine again. “You’re Not Alone” has to be one of the most inspiring songs ever created due to its lyrics about preventing suicide. Rightfully one of the bands biggest hits, it is catchy and memorable. “Bury Your Head” is driven not by Cove’s voice but by atmospheric guitars providing more of a texture than a catchy guitar riff. More fantastic gang vocals aid Cove singing about a failing relationship, a recurring lyrical theme of the album. “Some Sense Of Security” ends the album beautifully just like the album opener begin the album beautifully. Some of Cove’s best vocals are included here and its ending is once again incredibly atmospheric with Cove’s voice echoing in the background with bleak and somber piano playing.
Is this one of the best albums ever created like I remember it being? Absolutely not and it’s quite far from it actually. However, it actually is an incredibly solid major label breakthrough that happens to be overplayed and incredibly inconsistent at times. No song on the album is bad in any way and the bands performance as a whole is masterful. The album is good fun that almost never gets boring and anyone who is a fan of alt rock and post hardcore should not pass this one up.