Review Summary: Guys, we're riding the coattails of another album..
Post-hardcore music is dying.
This may be a tough pill for some people to swallow but outside of reunion albums and Dance Gavin Dance, the only noise coming from the scene in recent years have been from crickets. Maybe people are growing out of their old tastes, maybe the talent isn’t what it used to be. Regardless, post-hardcore music is now a neglected niche, with a treasured history of bands who now seem content on making different flavors of alt/pop rock if they make anything at all, and no discernable direction for the future. Genre be damned however, I have spent the past 4 years explaining how The Ongoing Concept is a damn fine rock band and Places
continues that notion. While not wholly original (ironic") even in light of their own discography, a piece of that can be attributed to the drastic turnover in members, with 1/3 of the brothers Dawson Scholz the single survivor of the fallout. With three brand new members Places
strikes in every way as a reset album, an album to feel each other out as musicians. And with material every bit as soulful and catchy as heard on Handmade
is at least proof the band has gelled.
Musically and tonally though, Places
takes more than a few cues from the band’s previous work Handmade
. The guitars don’t crunch or bludgeon but noodle soulfully over Dawson’s shrieks with numerous parts having an improvisational flair that adds to an already infectious level of fun. Fun however should be a supplement to, not a foundation for, an album and Places
foundations are shaky, damn near splintered. As mentioned before, Places
is a direct sequel to Handmade
; not a bad thing in and of itself, but what some people may call a comfort zone, others might call laziness or even borderline ineptitude. “The Print” as Dawson himself states, “rides the coattails” of the band’s most popular song “Cover Girl” in theme, anthemic vocals, and the self-aware quazi-snarky spoken word part at the end. A fun song for sure, but telling your listeners you’re ripping off one of your own songs doesn’t make it any less odd.
makes up for its derivative nature with the band’s trademark abundance of positive energy. It’s an energy that’s pervaded every release so far and the seasoning making every banger the band writes that much better and every dud seem better than it actually is. “Domesticated” is a perfect example of this energy, incorporating spastic horns into their bluesy rock formula creates a wild cacophony of sound bringing back memories of “The Back Of Your Mouth” by the Used. A blueprint rarely used and brilliantly realized here. The song itself oozing everything The Ongoing Concept is about yet sounding nothing like the rest of the album. The Ongoing Concept are now at a delicate point in their careers. They aren’t established enough to play any sort of nostalgia card and release the same album over and over and make no mistake, Places
is Handmade 2.0
. Today’s listeners demand constant progression and evolution but the nucleus of the group’s sound has the potential to carry them for years. But with three new members and the obvious chemistry displayed here, hopefully the comfort zone gets a little wider in the future.