Review Summary: The cat must die.
Although it greatly pains me to say this, there is no other way. This album, is quite simply, bad. Although this may seem harsh, and straight to the point, it is this exact honesty that the young Joey Brown really needs. For someone that has his love, and passion for music to continue to be deluded into thinking the songs he is making are good would be near criminal. Instead he needs a big slap in the face and a 'Hey what are you doing man?' Yet that is where the first problem lies, in the terminology of the word 'music.' Allow me to elaborate.
What Above the Graves does here, is not music in any way, shape, or form, other than the fact it is broken up into songs whilst using various musical instruments. The chords seem awry, one instrument is out of touch with the next, and all the ambient sounds don't create an ether at all, they merely clutter up an already confusing piece of instrumentation. At times it seems as though AtG has the slightest idea of what he is doing, creating haunting, fleeting melodies that strike the listener instantly. However, the approximate time that the music clicks in minutes is lower than the rating of this album.
Strange, industrial noises litter the album (more like abomination) leaving footprints of indiscernible meaning. When trying to make a concept album, one with feel and thought put behind it, the overall ideologies should be just accessible enough that the listener can, over time, gather the full message. There are two problems here, regarding Joe's self-titled album.
1. Firstly, it is not interesting or engaging enough to achieve said multiple plays.
2. It seems to me that there is no hidden meaning, just layer upon layer of noises in an attempt to replicate some form of music structure
The sound of all the instruments included within this album is quite abysmal. Although AtG gets a fairly clean tone on all of his tracks - one that could not be obtained if a fairly high quality keyboard was used in a computers steed - it is marred and masked by the sheer production sound that accompanies everything else. The instruments sound so computer-generated (obviously they are) that it is quite sickening to listening to. A simple conversion tool may have increased the quality of each track yet this strategy was not put in place, as this album unfortunately found out. This is best portrayed at the end of the track 'Fumbling in the Dark.'
Potential is a thing so many have. Love and passion for music is something that less people have. Sheer, raw talent is something barely anybody contains anymore. To really make a breakthrough release lots of hard work needs to be put into creating it, as well as taking into account many factors. Although Above the Graves certainly has talent and an unquenchable thirst for music, he needs to buckle down his boots and start thinking long and hard about how he can combine his original ideas with the ones people suggest to him.
Perhaps then he may release an 'album that obtains a 1 before it's even written.'
But we as observers can only hope.