Review Summary: Reimagined, this time with beauty.
Typically, 'reimagined' tracks fall into one of two ends of the spectrum; actual reimagining's that add a whole other layer to an already superb track (think Hands Like Houses and I The Mighty), or simple, layered down acoustic tracks that make the listener question just why
something like that was needed (practically everyone else). Fortunately, 131 Reimagined
falls into the 'whole other layer' category. Allowing vocalist Bradley Walden the peaceful instrumentals his vocals truly excel in conjunction with, on top of picking four already well-crafted tracks, allows for the four-track EP to achieve something worthwhile for fans and casual listeners alike.
Going for a far more stripped-down approach, Emarosa excel at keeping things simple and allowing the star of the show Walden really take control of the songs throughout. Very rarely are there more than one layer of vocals on tracks, resulting in a far more accomplished minimalistic feel. Already a well-proven vocalist in his own right in both Emarosa and Squid the Whale, Bradley takes things to the next level, but not in the more conventional ways. His vocals are far calmer and more methodical, opting for a lower vocal performance than what has been present in the past. Although he still does reach his memorable highs, they come more carefully, particularly on a track like 'Blue'. With an almost unsteady performance, his voice is incredibly engrossing, and melds so incredibly with the instrumentals. The instrumentals, in all of their smooth beauty, really add a memorable deft touch to an already fantastic EP. 'One Car Garage', with its post-rock leanings, incorporates a light bass line that weaves its way through guitar lines and key strokes, before all cutting for the slow burn of the chorus. Further along, 'Helpless' is a standard but well-performed piano ballad that completely transforms and transcends the original in its emotion, whilst the brooding 'Miracle' uses minimalistic brilliantly and is another song that showcases the pure beauty of Walden's voice.
Although 131 Reimagined
can just be seen as another reimagined project, that would do injustice to the EP. All four songs are so completely different from their originals in both tone and substance that passing on them would be selling yourself short. It mixes a perfect blend of styles and results in a listen that feels both calm and methodical without sounds un-Emarosa like. And not only does it provide further fuel to the Bradley Walden fire, it gives new life to four tracks that were already fantastic in their own right.