Saosin
Along the Shadow


4.0
excellent

Review

by PostMesmeric USER (84 Reviews)
May 15th, 2016 | 72 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "For you to bounce right back, pick up right where you left off..."

This is the first full-length LP from Saosin with Anthony Green.

I still think that’s difficult to process, because no one involved in Saosin is anyone remotely new to the scene. Frontman Anthony Green is one of the hardest-working men in post-hardcore today, with numerous side projects, a successful solo career, and his experimental post-hardcore group Circa Survive. He’s not a stranger, and neither are the rest of the members of Saosin, who plugged away with vocalist Cove Reber after Green’s departure. Saosin’s first two LPs were, if anything, straight-ahead. While I don’t have strong feelings for their sophomore LP, In Search of Solid Ground, their self-titled debut was quite good. The musical discipline behind their debut EP Translating the Name was, for the most part, preserved. But that EP still dwarfs both LPs. It was such a promising start to a bold and energized future for the group, a future that seemed impossible to achieve after Circa Survive began gathering attention. But Green and Saosin are now back together and have brought forth an LP that’s been years in the making: Along the Shadow. This is the first Saosin LP with Anthony Green at the mic, and it’s really good.

Anthony Green’s return to the Saosin lineup is easily the most noticeable feature of Along the Shadow. 2003’s Translating the Name is still Saosin’s strongest release, a five-song EP that showed Green’s definitive melodic tenor alongside a textured ballistic of post-hardcore energy. But Green has since established a career of challenge. His work in his band Circa Survive is much more experimental than his work on Translating the Name, so having him return to Saosin’s spiraling, more punk-inspired aesthetic sounds like a difficult role to settle into again. Does Green’s performance on Along the Shadow bring back the sound of Translating the Name" Honestly, no. This doesn’t sound like Translating the Name, but that’s not a bad thing by any means. Green has taken the melodic experimentalism from his times in Circa Survive and readjusted it to all the right frequencies. There’s still a great deal of vocal energy behind Along the Shadow, as Green’s battlecries on “Racing Toward a Red Light” or “The Secret Meaning of Freedom” stand just as tall as his crooning on the breathtaking “Second Guesses.” Green’s lyricism catches the Circa Survive vibe as well, suggesting poetic, but personal experiences that still manage to fit inside the more aggressive post-hardcore rock hitters. Anthony Green’s time in his more curious projects haven’t hampered Saosin in the ways you might expect. He has accommodated this style of music and his creative spark only serves to provide just enough artistic swerves to keep Along the Shadow from feeling too obtuse. He makes it fit.

But the additional members of Saosin stick to more familiar territory, but that’s also not a deficit. Saosin’s mixture of rhythm section blitzes and guitars that carefully walk the line between punk noise and post-hardcore precision; they’re all on full display. This collection of musicians, despite the hiatus, picks up right where In Search of Solid Ground left off, but also sifting out the missteps from that LP. Alex Rodriguez’s drumming roars on “Racing Toward a Red Light” and “The Secret Meaning of Freedom” is furious, echoing the stampedes of At the Drive-in’s Tony Hajjar with a touch of technicality for good measure. “Old Friends” manages to feel full and aggressive despite a steadier tempo, making it one of the best performances from Rodriguez and bassist Chris Sorenson alike. Beau Burchell still commands the guitars like a pro, remaining a powerful cornerstone for Saosin’s songwriting and performance alike, but his experience in mixing channels all of the better moments of the group’s self-titled debut. In fact, Along the Shadow emits a lingering sense of technicality that Translating the Name never seemed to show. “Sore Distress” is a densely packed slow burner, while the opener “The Silver String” paces itself more carefully. The moments where Along the Shadow really hits home are these points of challenge, where the catchiness is dropped, but the energy stays.

If Along the Shadow has any noticeable faults, it’s that its middle portion doesn’t have the same kinds of standout tracks like its opening and closing segments. “Count Back From Ten”, while decent, is a shockingly settled follower to the majestic “Second Guesses.” Most songs stick to less intense tempos, which is also a smaller bummer, because the shining rhythm section doesn’t get as many chances to really accelerate and blast down the doors. Saosin’s works with Green have never had a desire for control of choruses and catchiness, but these songs feel rewarding. Green’s experimental lyrics give the songs a sense of depth beyond the music alone as well. Along the Shadow isn’t accessible in the same ways that their self-titled debut was. Instead, it’s intricate, subtly complex in structure, something that Saosin has been searching for since Translating the Name.

I can’t say in confidence that Along the Shadow matches Translating the Name, because it’s clear that these two releases are not similar. While the group’s debut EP felt comfortably unsteady, piquing Green’s musical ambition enough to fuel Circa Survive’s creation, it still felt accessible enough to fuel the mosh pits. Along the Shadow isn’t as accessible. The choruses are off-kilter and Green’s lyrics are still vague and ambiguous; this isn’t a post-hardcore record that displays its appeal immediately. Very much like Anthony Green’s other projects, Along the Shadow is a slow burn, but like those projects, it’s one of brightness and congealed ambition. The time Green took off Saosin has paid off for everyone in the band, because Along the Shadow is proficient in creating a rewarding, but proud post-hardcore record that probably couldn’t have been done without some independent soul-searching from everyone involved. Saosin walk with confidence again.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
PostMesmeric
May 15th 2016


745 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

As reported here, official stream of Along the Shadow on Pandora. http://www.sputnikmusic.com/news/36124/Saosin-stream-Along-The-Shadow/



Really enjoyed this more than I did at first.



Fun fact: Saosin was the first group I ever saw live. The Cove-fronted lineup opened for 30 Seconds to Mars when I was in middle school. Crazy show. I like to think I've come a long way since my youth as far as music tastes. :/

BlacKapes
May 15th 2016


1961 Comments


stopped reading at "Saosin walk with confidence again."

you lost me at that point

Ebola
May 15th 2016


3553 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review, really excited to hear this. I was never a huge fan of TTN though. Also, WTF even is that album cover? Looks like a double-jointed black dude trying to dab.

KevinBaecon
May 15th 2016


263 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

this is really bad



green's melodies sound so bored and unremarkable in everything hes touched for years now



the disparity in the quality of his output is crazy



but he is having to sing over bands that are content to be playing lazy and pandering music. Circa Survive's music went so south after 2007s On Letting Go its insane

Ebola
May 15th 2016


3553 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

hey this shit is actually pretty good

OwMySnauze
May 15th 2016


1927 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This review doesn't read like a 4.0. Hope this is as hard and unstructured as TTN.

Toondude10
May 15th 2016


13827 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

yeah this is their best album imo



good review too, pos

Digging: Devin Townsend - Empath

Nomos
May 15th 2016


1737 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Confirmed, album is dope

bloc
May 15th 2016


55048 Comments


Thought this was totally average

Digging: The Chemical Brothers - No Geography

Calc
Contributing Reviewer
May 15th 2016


16107 Comments


"stopped reading at "Saosin walk with confidence again."

you lost me at that point"


it's a pretty nuanced and complicated point agreed.

rc239
May 15th 2016


248 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0 | Sound Off

great review, but this album is a 2.5 at best honestly

owen
May 16th 2016


5146 Comments


The cover reminds me of Upstream Colour

ColorMyAlphabet
May 16th 2016


4 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This album is a true piece of heaven.

bloc
May 16th 2016


55048 Comments


The cover is goofy as hell

It should be The Contortionist's next album cover

judgedeath2
May 16th 2016


59 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I like a few tracks, but Green sounds too much like his Circa croon. Instrumentation is on point as always, but doesn't have the raw energy of TTN or even the S/T.





Mongi123
May 16th 2016


20295 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This doesn't sound very inspired. It's just kinda in one ear out the other.

Ebola
May 16th 2016


3553 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I like this a lot actually. At least a 3.5

Calc
Contributing Reviewer
May 16th 2016


16107 Comments


once this actually releases i'll listen properly but I liked what i remember from it.

Mongi123
May 16th 2016


20295 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It just sounds like a straight up Circa Survive record for most of it's running time. It has a few sweet riffs along the way.



Also, very stellar review man.

Toondude10
May 16th 2016


13827 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

"great review, but this album is a 2.5 at best honestly"



Album Rating: 1.0



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