You know how when you're eating pancakes, they're really, really good? But once you're done with them, you're kind of like, "Why did I eat those? I feel sick now."? It's sort of like those pancakes were the best and worst thing, just at different times. The Anniversary are the pancakes of the music world. Some songs are pop music at its pinnacle, with addictive guitar riffs and sweet, heartfelt vocals, but some songs are long, boring, and full of odd orchestration and instrumentation that just doesn't work. It feels really odd that the album goes right from pop perfection to bizarre progressive noodling, sometimes even within the context of the same song.
Case in point: "Husam Husam" has an absolutely epic first minute or so, with arpeggiated guitar chords and heavily effect-laden other things going on. After a little while of that, a few minor chords are pounded out on the guitar and everything stops. The song is completely awesome so far. Suddenly, in comes the most wimpy sounding voice ever to grace my ears, singing ridiculous lyrics (Husam/Who shot the doctor?/Turn off the air/And be free) over a carnival-like guitar riff. Talk about a let down. That's a song in which the progressive part takes precedence over the pop part. It's exactly the other way around in "The Ghost Of The River," a tune that starts off simply enough. Just a male voice singing along with an acoustic guitar. A female voice comes in every once and awhile to harmonize with him, giving the song a country pop feel. Slowly, electric bass, guitars, and drums fade in. Everything is still going good, keeping the vulnerable country style. Then everything stops, just like in "Husam Husam," and a guitar picks out seemingly random notes. Every few bars, the male voice will almost scream out a few lines with the female voice not even singing, really, but breathing over top of it. This carries on for three minutes. By the end of the first, I was ready to scream. Adding another two minutes made it no better.
However, there are songs that are just flat out bad, with nothing good to keep them above the water. "The Death of the King's" distorted vocals, distorted guitar, random synthesizer fills that sound like something you would hear on a merry-go-round, and keyboards way too high in the mix make for one god-awful song. "Follow The Sun" is just two minutes of the male voice singing the words, "And we all/Follow the sun/Come everyone/Follow the sun." Granted, it's a good melody, but come on. Two minutes of the same thing?
If you can manage to listen through those songs without your ears bleeding, you are rewarded with some of the best indie pop music in recent years. "Crooked Crown" has a catchy vocal line, as well as a guitar melody that plays throughout it that sounds like the idea of fun somehow manifested into a guitar riff. Album highlight "The Siren Sings" has a beautiful piano chord progression playing under extremely emotional vocals, reaching a pinnacle in the first chorus, in which all instruments stop except for strings, piano, and vocals, creating a very haunting vibe. "Sweet Marie" is goofy pop in the vein of Bleu, and stops just as its repetitive patterns were getting boring.
All in all, Your Majesty isn't a bad album. It's certainly not something to rush out and tell all of your friends about, but some of it is actually worth a couple of listens. Though a deaf person probably couldn't even stand "The Death Of A King," the rest of the album ranges from mediocre to great. If you want fun pop music mixed with sometimes abstract instrumentation, Your Majesty is the place to go.
- The Siren Sings is beautiful
- The poppy moments are very fun to listen to
- The switching off of male and female vocalists is interesting
- The Death Of A King. 'Nuff said.
- Random noodling ruins several songs
- Can get boring towards the end
Overall Rating: 3/5