Review Summary: Jacob Bannon's solo project feels like it lacks something to lift the album out of perpetual stagnation.
The debut album of Wear Your Wounds, Converge vocalist Jacob Bannon's solo project, has been a long time coming. This can easily be forgiven however, given his involvement in seemingly countless other projects. It's also easy to understand that much of Bannon's solo work here is largely reflected through his gentler, mellower albeit still emotional persona. That said, if you haven't already guessed so, this is almost the polar opposite of Converge.
The vast majority of WYW
is essentially channelled through a slow-burning, low-fi style which is mostly influenced by post-rock. Even with the heavier nature of the self-titled album opener, there's still a strong, lulling charm which is thoroughly dreamlike and gentle. Unfortunately, after the faint promise of the album opener, the rest of the album merely relies on the same tried-and-tested technique but never reaches such a memorable peak of songwriting prowess. Songs such as "Giving Up", "Hard Road to Heaven" and "Fog" feature a strong focus on piano-led composition and elaborate acoustic melodies, yet for all their attempts at building and building to something monumental, there's never really an "end" to most of these songs. This main problem is at its worst, unsurprisingly, with the lengthier songs. "Iron Rose" and "Breaking Point", because of this, seem far too long and are seemingly written with a focus on interludes as opposed to full-fledged memorable pieces of music. That said, there are times when Bannon unleashes his more intense side. "Fog", despite its failed attempts at culminating in a decent outro, is rife with excellent drum work which seems more adapted to heavier music than it does in an album focussed solely on post-rock influenced styles. To add to this, the self-titled album opener is the only song to feature Bannon's faint screams, strongly recognisable to fans of Converge's music and a charming aspect of the tune to everyone else.
Yet these few moments can't quite take away from the fact that, honestly, WYW
is a bit of a downward slump from the get-go. Its best song is right at the beginning, and everything else afterwards seems too derivative and meandering to be enjoyed all the way through. Sure, respect and credit has to go to Bannon for finally releasing a work which has taken years to release, but it all feels like it lacks something to lift the album out of stagnation. Perhaps we'll never hear another release under the Wear Your Wounds banner, given Bannon's involvement in seemingly countless projects elsewhere, but it would have been nice to hear something wholly consistent and interesting.