Review Summary: In part a surprising treat. In part almost unnecessary.
Emarosa, the four piece band from Lexington, Kentucky, that consists of Bradley Walden (Vocals), Will Sowers (Bass), Jordan Stewart (Keys) and ER White (Guitars), recently unearthed a rather pleasant little surprise for it’s fans in the form of Versus Reimagined
, an EP that reworks four fan favorite songs off of their latest LP Versus
Circa 2014, and lineup change, Emarosa had been helmed for breathing fresh air into the post hardcore genre. In their latest musical endeavors, Emarosa have shown an obvious effort to distance themselves from the genre entirely and Versus Reimagined
is definitely the culmination of said efforts. This being said Versus Reimagined
is the furthest that Emarosa has ever been from their roots, to the point where they seem to be an almost entirely different band from what they had started out as.
was produced by, and features, Aaron Marsh of Copeland and the amount of influence from said producer and band shows in spades. With influences ranging from minimalistic production styles, to synthesized drums, to horns and strings, this EP is definitely “Emarosa done Copeland” holding far too many similarities to Copeland’s latest LP, Ixora
, to just be a coincidence, with influences being quite clearly internal.
The two tracks that both stand out and offer the most in Versus Reimagined
are “Gold Dust” and “Mad.” Both of which almost seem to be ripped apart of all but their skeleton and reworked both melodically and structurally. This is made apparent with the horn and key opening in “Mad” and the songs bleeding transition of synthetic drumming that carries into “Gold Dust” it definitely seems like the reimagined track with the most effort put into it. “Mad” is also a track where Bradley’s vocal performance shines and stands out the most, as he uses both his lower and higher ranges in a way that his melodies soar over the instrumental track beautifully. “Gold Dust” is a stray from nearly everything else Emarosa has ever put out, including other tracks on this EP, being both electronic and Jazzy in nature, while featuring both vocals and redone lyrics from Aaron Marsh.
On the other end of the release are the reimagined versions of “Say Hello to the Bad Guy” and “I’ll Just Wait” and these two tracks fall into the category of the more disappointing half of the EP. While the two tracks themselves aren’t bad by any means, they see no key defining change to them in comparison to the former two tracks. Each song is essentially the same vocal mix and melody of the original, with strings and keys in place of the original instrumental. Here the band doesn’t do anything to really “reimagine” the tracks in any substantial way and feels a bit lacking in effort overall in comparison to the other two tracks. As a result these songs seem a bit unnecessary and lack a major reason for repeated play.
In short, those who were hoping for a return to form in Emarosa’s post Hardcore roots will be sorely disappointed by this EP. Those who enjoyed the softer elements of the band's latest LP Versus, will find this a surprising treat to hold them over for a new, inevitable, LP. In that regard it does it’s job. Who knows maybe this stray from the norm is a sign of things to come?