Review Summary: The effort of attempting to get over the loss of the most important person in his life, personified in a mix of catchy post-hardcore and RnB.
Tyler Carter’s had quite the history, nearly leaving the music industry twice; the first time near the end of high school when the love of his life and music partner Rachel Reese was killed in a car accident, and the second time when he left Woe Is Me. He lost himself and had no clue how to go about regaining his internal monologue. However with Issues debut album, he seems to have taken that step forward and confronted the pain in his past full swing. This album is the most personal and well crafted piece of musical work that Tyler Carter has drafted in his entire career.
This band succeeds for three major reasons; vocal hooks, solid production and how every aspect of the music compliments each other. Tyler Carter has never sounded this good in the clean vocal department, delivering memorable hook after hook. He occasionally throws in a small rap passage and even a scream here and there to keep his performance from growing stale. His falsetto has also notably improved. Michael Bohn’s screams have improved vastly as well, his higher range no longer seems forced and his mid range has a much stronger foundation than previously shown. The two vocalists complement each other rather well, even if they sometimes sound a little awkward.
The lyricism jumps inconsistently from song to song. However in one way or another, every song is in some way, shape or form covering Tyler’s past. Lyrically the best songs on the album are “Life of a Nine” and “Tears on the Runway Pt. 2.”
“I guess if you're in love with the streets,
then you'll die in the sheets,
with the coke on your chest and his lips on your cheek.“ (Life of a Nine)
The passage above refers to Tyler attempting to reach an old friend who lost herself in drug use and is living off the avails of prostitution. The style is more often than not straight to the point, with the occasional use of metaphors in some songs to portray ideals. This blunt style fits with the music and with the attitude that Tyler had in mind for the album to begin with.
The musicality of this album can be described in three words; Compact, atmospheric, simple. You’re not going to find any technical guitar picking here or bass slapping there. That wasn’t the purpose of the instrumentals to begin with. They all work together as one package to create the most effective and catchy sound for the listener. That doesn’t mean there aren’t some cool moments though. AJ is the only guitarist in the band and gives an energetic performance, laying down some catchy riffs and just keeping the mood up in general. The bass is unfortunately quite inaudible during the majority of the album and just seems to be there to give the guitar a little extra oomph, since it follows the guitar almost note for note. Arguably this is for the best due to the nature of this album. The drums follow suit as well, with some tights fills here and there. The electronics and turntables are more tastefully used than on the original “Black Diamond” EP, and serve as an effective backdrop to help insure that the instruments don’t sound stale. The turntables have more than well worked their way into Issues sound and doesn’t sound completely out of place and gimmicky like on their EP.
All in all, their debut album is a riveting success. Combining RnB and post-hardcore influences turned out to be a fantastic success for the band, and has lead to a catchy and memorable debut album.
"Tears on the Runway Pt. 2", "Sad Ghost", "The Settlement", "Life of a Nine", and "Disappear (Remember When)."
"Mad At Myself."