Transistor Transistor
Ruined Lives


4.0
excellent

Review

by SeaAnemone USER (161 Reviews)
August 23rd, 2010 | 34 replies


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The next best thing to Hot Cross, for all you enthusiasts of technicality and passion in a screamo package.

“What a horrible place to start,” I can’t help but thinking to myself as Ruined Lives becomes deeper and deeper ingrained into my brain. The odd realization calls for some reflection on screamo and post-hardcore in general. Generally speaking, the rougher types of music at hand aren’t all that inviting to begin with. Harsh vocals, odd technical aspects, oft-grating production, and an aesthetic that says everything but, “Hey everyone, listen to me!” make sure of this. Nevertheless, it’s odd that such sparkling examples of high-quality screamo tend to be the most dense, the most uninviting, the most difficult to penetrate. Unpolished and caustic, Ruined Lives is an ideal demonstration of this inkling I had. The quartet from New Hampshire (of all places?!) glorifies the heavier side of emo. Much like peers Hot Cross achieved with Cryonics and Fair Trades and Farewells EP, Transistor Transistor have fashioned an intelligent emo hybrid of technicality and emotion.

The album art, one of my personal favorites, is intriguingly ambiguous. Thirty seconds into “Morning Sickness,” TT smashes any hint of that ambiguity with choppy riffs and guttural screams. The vocal duties are spectacularly executed, adding a desperately-needed dimension to complement the emotionless technicality of Ruined Lives. It would have been easy for TT to simply waltz down the aisle, riff with splendor, and let the guitars speak for themselves; but thankfully the screaming, executed with a snarl and a slur, is far from lackadaisical. A few of the albums highlights like “Celluloid Rats” even showcase the bands aptitude for diversity by adding in dual vocals, some throaty shouting to complement the unintelligible screams. Perhaps most distinguishable amongst the powerful intensity, though, is the sheer destructiveness of TT. Weirdly enough, Ruined Lives is somewhat reminiscent of good ‘ol rock n’ roll because of the energy, the nice groove TT find themselves in. Once again, it’s that snarl in the vocals, the nice flow of energy that the band executes so acutely that adds to this sentiment. This concept, the rock n’ roll side of Ruined Lives, is probably the only aspect that leans Transistor Transistor towards the “listenable” end of the spectrum, as other facets of the band’s sound will only serve to turn away mild, virgin ears and elate ragged, veteran ones.

It’s often hard to tell where Transistor Transistor plan to go next, their style is so erratic from song to song. The only expected attribute is the intensity and power that stays fairly headstrong throughout. Respite is present but scant, as TT add some sludgy, ominous build-ups to songs like “Morning Sickness” and “Pillar of Salt.” The breaks are used appropriately, and do well at highlighting the raucous energy, the bursts of explosion that make Ruined Lives outstanding. Structurally, this is where TT shines. The songwriting sounds incredibly deliberate, each moment designed to accentuate the next. This way, even though you’re not sure where the song is going to drop you off next, you can have confidence that it’s going to be spectacular, not to mention more exciting. With turns and twirls, stops and starts, “Letter of Resignation” is a prime example of this intense, vigorous carnival ride from hell.

With many varying methods of achieving the dark, damp, heaviness of Ruined Lives, Transistor Transistor were bound to take a wrong turn somewhere. And they do- a few of their methods are dangerously heavy-handed, and end up overshadowing the two key aspects of the record- passion and technicality. Take, for instance, “Harvest.” The track was written cleverly, but the 6-minute runtime eventually overtakes the band’s knack for passion and ends up flat on its stomach as the last few minutes drone on. For the type of music TT are clearly inclined towards, pithy is always more powerful. Luckily, the mishaps here or there never manage to overwhelm Ruined Lives... and how could they? Ruined Lives is a chugging steam engine, a powerful record limited only by the boundaries it creates for itself. In effect, the radical nature of Ruined Lives won’t benefit newcomers to the genre; but screamo fans and post-hardcore followers alike are sure to revel in the impassioned technicality and maze-like heaviness that Transistor Transistor executes so eloquently.



Recent reviews by this author
Mogwai Rave TapesTau Tau Eyelids
Ghost Ship Golden GirlsCrosses EP
Warren Franklin Your Heart Belongs To The MidwestFrightened Rabbit A Frightened Rabbit EP
user ratings (29)
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
SeaAnemone
August 24th 2010


21429 Comments


there's probably so many mistakes in this it's not even funny


ugh I'm so bored now that all my friends left for college and I don't leave til Thursday : (

SeaAnemone
August 24th 2010


21429 Comments


my iTunes has it listed as hardcore I dunno

SeaAnemone
August 24th 2010


21429 Comments


fti: yeah it was a stupid reference to my second-to-last list, but I changed it back. and yeah chan's right I've made a horrible mistake fer sure

SeaAnemone
August 24th 2010


21429 Comments


shhh be quiet or they'll realize I only said that to get people to listen to this!

SeaAnemone
August 24th 2010


21429 Comments


yeah that's kinda random tbh but oh well I hope you still listen

Romulus
August 24th 2010


8565 Comments


hmm this looks tempting. good review too, it seems like you've been getting even better lately

SeaAnemone
August 24th 2010


21429 Comments


thanks... I've definitely felt a little stale, especially in terms of what to review : / so I've been catching up on stuff I meant to do before and have felt less... idk... inspiration? but thanks for the reassurance, it helps : )

Romulus
August 24th 2010


8565 Comments


no problem, i've just felt like they've been more engaging reads lately. you balance talking about yourself and the album really well which is something not a lot of people can do

accompliceofmydeath
August 24th 2010


4861 Comments


Is this anything like their S/T, if you've heard it?

SeaAnemone
August 24th 2010


21429 Comments


grrrr I know I have heard it before, but it was like one listen and a fairly long time ago, and I don't have it anymore... so I can't give you a good answer... but I don't think it was anything too out of the ordinary. Like basically a less fully- realized version of this with rougher production, if that helps.

accompliceofmydeath
August 24th 2010


4861 Comments


Haha, alright. Not on the top of my list, but I'll probably check it out eventually.

theacademy
Staff Reviewer
August 24th 2010


31639 Comments


MUSIC DO
MUSIC DO
MUSIC DO
MUSIC DO
MUSIC DO
MUSIC DO


SeaAnemone
August 24th 2010


21429 Comments


if Slightly were here he'd be excited that I reviewed it : (

BigTuna
August 24th 2010


5336 Comments


Where is Slightly?

SeaAnemone
August 24th 2010


21429 Comments


off in the middle of the woods listening to nothing but screamo and staying there meditating in caustic riffs and brutal screams until spring awakens him...


but really he just said he had to go without internet for awhile idk why or when he'll be back

BigTuna
August 24th 2010


5336 Comments


he probably had to go w/o internet in order to do what you explained in your first sentence

Also, music is growing stale I need something to fall in love with.

SeaAnemone
August 24th 2010


21429 Comments


I have that Thermals album but I'm busy listening to Do Make Say Think and I got a vibe goin is it worth interruptin them for?

BigTuna
August 24th 2010


5336 Comments


Has it leaked? There's not a page for it.

SeaAnemone
August 24th 2010


21429 Comments


I'm on the last track but it's the really long one whoops they're all really long actually

BigTuna
August 24th 2010


5336 Comments


Ohh



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2019 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy