Review Summary: An adequate offering from a band with untapped potential.
It can be frustrating for listeners when a band simply can’t choose a genre and stick with it, especially when they are unable to do it in a cohesive manner. The Idoru
, a five-piece Hungarian outfit, are one such band. After forming in 2003 and releasing two albums and an EP, they disbanded in 2006 to pursue other interests. Eventually, they reformed with their original lineup intact and wrote two more albums: 2009’s Face the Light
and 2011’s Time
. The latter, released earlier this year, borrows the hard/alternative rock sound from their previous albums and attempts to fuse it with hardcore elements. The result is a respectable group of nine songs that range from exceptional to puzzling. It’s the general disorder of the content that holds the band back from really letting their talent shine.
The album’s main single, “Friends”, is a perfect example of what The Idoru are capable of making. It’s catchy, heavy and shows off the technical skills of the members themselves (particularly, the drummer.) The vocals are mainly clean and sound quite similar to Phil Labonte from All That Remains
in his earlier days as a frontman, but generally lack variety besides a few well-placed screams. From there, “Time” and “In Pieces Again” are fairly strong tracks and continue the flow produced by the first song, emphasizing the band’s harder side. “Ain’t Worth ***” is a tad more mellow but also tails off slightly in terms of quality, and this is where the album starts to really collapse in on itself.
“I’m Moving On” comes out of nowhere as an acoustic ballad that doesn’t fit in the order well at all. It’s not really a bad song, but it loses a lot of its effectiveness because there is no transitional separation between genres. The lyrics on the second half of the album actually switch from being in English to Hungarian, which hampers the flow and distracts listeners from the actual music. “Evrol Evre” switches back to the hardcore sound again, containing one of the better choruses on the album and impressive percussion parts. Next, “Felig Szep” takes more of a hard rock approach but ultimately fails to leave a good impression because of its inability to stand out in the mix. “Keseru Otthon” is perhaps the strongest track (other than “Friends”) because the band sticks to the basics and doesn’t try to incorporate contrasting parts into the music. Finally, “Breath” is another mellow song that shouldn’t be placed at the end of the album. It really takes the album out with a whimper instead of a roar, providing a fitting conclusion to a disorganized record.
When the band doesn’t screw around with the alternative aspects, they can actually write some appreciable songs. It’s the track placement that kills this album, holding it back from achieving something greater and eliminating any momentum built from the heavier pieces. The untapped potential is definitely there; it just requires refocusing and readjustment in order to become realized. The Idoru need to take a step back and decide what kind of music they really want to write, because they don’t possess the talent needed to combine contrasting genres and make it sound well-integrated.