Review Summary: Feel the wounds.
I remember once talking to a friend of mine who is also into modern rock/alternative metal. I asked him if he was into Breaking Benjamin, as he was a huge Chevelle fan. He told me no because he couldn’t stand the voice of Ben Burnley. I’m a big BB fan, but not wanting to be rude, I just smiled and politely said “it happens”. On the inside, I couldn’t remember anytime where a vocalist had bothered me that much. And because of the kind of mind I have, that topic stuck with me for the next couple days, nagging at me and gnawing at my mental fabric. Finally, I came up with a band that may have at least partially fit that category: Falling Up. I thought they were (somewhat) musically proficient, but with the pop/punk vocal style and the weak screams, I just dismissed them. Recently, I thought I would give the group another chance, just to see if maybe a couple years had softened my opinion.
Vocalist Jesse Ribordy is extremely difficult to get used to, that’s for sure. He sounds extremely out of place for most of Crashings
and just doesn’t have that edge that most modern rockers carry. Imagine Jon Micah from Kutless, then add it more candy-coated sugar and that’s an apt comparison. That being said, there are some moments where his voice isn’t too bad and is even a little fitting. However, the screaming needs to be gutted from the record. I’m not sure whether they were just trying to edit it into the background, but it sounds so muffled and has absolutely no effect upon the listener, taking a lot of fire out of the more intense moments. Musically, both guitarists deliver much of what is expected, though they deliver it well. Many tracks of the record are saved by their crunchy riffing and even some intricate leads. Drums and bass have their moments, but they mainly fall by the wayside. As for the programming throughout, it works to a degree, but there’s very little variation and as a result, it gets a little grating at times and steals even more replay value.
Both “Broken Heart” and “Escalates” are fun rock tunes that contain the aforementioned riffs, so-so drums, and Jesse taking a lower, darker register. These showcase the potential of Falling Up and are well-executed alt/nu-metal tunes. Other than that, there are at most enjoyable moments: the programming in “Ambiance”, the riffing in both “Symmetry” and “Bittersweet”, and the drumming in “Divinity”. “Jackson 5” tries hard to be a diverse rap-core track that switches from rap to rock to metal to light pop, but other than the screams of Ryan Clark (Demon Hunter), the track feels disjointed and switches between guest vocalists schizophrenically. And besides the vocal problem, so many of the songs are just cut-copy-paste-repeat. There’s a ton of filler and many of the tracks just repeat themselves and drag on for much too long.
Lyrically, this is very hit-or-miss. Yes, I like poetic lyrics. Yes, I prefer angsty dark stuff that most people malign for being melodramatic. But come on, some of this is pretty bad. “My heart hurts because it never catches its breath”. Really Jesse" And aside from those type of moments, there’s some pretty cheesy “God moments” and this is coming from a Christian. While “Gathering” perfectly encapsulates the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, “New Hope Generation” just feels way too Jesus Culture/Hillsong United. And as for the ideas of “love songs to Jesus”, I’m perfectly ok with this. It’s been done by Jars of Clay correctly ("Love Song For A Savior"), it’s been done by RED correctly("Pieces"), it’s been done by Breaking Benjamin correctly("Ashes of Eden"). But “Falling In Love” just repeats a lot of cliches and the phrase “all of my dreams and passions are in Your hands”. You get the picture.
At its best, Crashings
would be an instrumental, albeit an instrumental EP that cut off all the fat. At its worst, this is a nightmare, a failed attempt at being diverse and different in a scene with plenty of strong groups. Positives aside, this really isn’t worth your time.