Review Summary: Post-Interesting.
Explosions continue to ring out from one side of a grand battlefield, the terrain marred by scorched soil and an intimidating count of deceased combatants. Flying high above the anarchy, a flag bearing suspicious resemblance to Conversation Piece
demarcates a line of trenches opposite that of an identical series—yet the pennant there is a peculiar mixture of unknown shapes that somehow manage to all look the same. No gains have been made in the war ever since the failed DIVISI
offensive was spectacularly cut down on the frontlines, prompting the ALLB nation to retreat in haste. The strangest feature undeniably rests upon the complete refusal of the contrasting forces to emerge from their foxholes; year by year, the legion digs in deeper, their profound absence of motivation propelling a great race between troops to see who can refuse to do anything new first. Though shouts and shells occasionally soar overhead from the encampment, rarely is any impact observed since the artillery ammo is replete with duds. Perhaps it can be blamed on the supplier for promising massive potential yet selling nothing but hollow capsules. By the same token, battalions a la Body Thief deserve to share equal blame for their carelessness. In a daring move, the Washington, D.C. collective ventured into the midst of enemy territory, managing to secure secret plans that could turn the tide of the battle. Instead of countering this, however, the gang decided to do exactly what the plan stated, word-for-word, forgetting that in essence they were attacking themselves. Bold as that may be, Travel Glow
amounts to little else than self-inflicted damage by the time the first note lands—empty as per usual.
In a toss-up between trench warfare and an archetypal school metaphor, one felt more apt; Body Thief are merely the next iteration of a new assemblage destined for obscurity. This surely sounds harsh when viewing the scene has a whole—it’s not like the gentlemen involved in the project are any more deserving to accept guilt for mistakes that had existed prior to their inception. Some group, however, is going to have to be put on the proverbial cross, and if that must be the case with regards to Travel Glow
then so be it. It cannot be stressed how utterly exhausting of a task it is nowadays to listen to contemporary post-hardcore albums when the majority, quite literally, take absolutely no risks and are indistinguishable from other dime-a-dozen Hail the Sun clones, the rest caught in the shadow of No Place
’s expert incorporation of atmosphere. Classifications such as metalcore, once derided for their stagnation, have seen undeniable moments of creative renaissance, the previous year a shining example of musical achievements inside the genre. Why post-hardcore has remained so static in comparison, so utterly hung-up on tired demonstrations, locked in a creative stalemate of World War proportions, is utterly baffling; answers are futile and the participating artists are causing injury to themselves. The clichés endure, their survival reaching cockroach levels of assurance; one may immediately brace for nearly-grating, screaming tenor clean vocals and immature harsh displays paired with mathy riffs before pressing play on introductory track “Sour Sounds.” After an immediate assault prompting the song’s beginning, the band behind it ventures aimlessly for the next four minutes. The singing performance drowns instrumental contributions which, in fairness, lack variety and spend the duration of the tune softly strumming in background capacity. Progression is hinted at but it is never attained—like the rest of Travel Glow
Constantly defining connections to other albums can be a tiresome exercise that unfairly bounds a record to external merit rather than its intrinsic value, but Body Thief seemingly steal the bulk of their sound from any post-hardcore band slugging it out in the 2010s. Those intricate, dual guitar assaults dominate the relatively brief lifespan of Travel Glow
, trademark melodic sweeps and fast-paced picking interspersed with subtler moments bearing indie resemblances. Drumming and bass outputs are respectable yet never attain the spotlight in favor of vocals and leads—the former is generally serviceable while the latter a pleasant buzz, anyways. Restrained, mood-oriented interludes poke up their heads on occasion, the stripped-back instrumentation aiming to illicit an emotional reaction that can’t be mustered—the delivery here is incredibly overdramatic, making it difficult to stomach. Upon entering “Innerverse,” the aforementioned clean performance begins to adopt a shaky, tired and scratchy quality that continues for the rest of the record; it’s as if the singer, who clearly pushes to reach those climactic soprano-esque planes that have become a post-hardcore staple, begins to buckle under the strain (just hear those forced screams on “Night Owls”). What’s unfortunate is that when the band does manage to come together on “Vesper Visits,” mimicking allegations aside, the resulting formation sports addicting riffs and commendable contributions across the board. Once an intermission track passes, however, it’s right back to basics: “Clocks Like Hell” and “Temptation of Knowledge” are tedious and devoid of any unique trait, the closing number more of a TTNG tune substituted with different vocals. Should the goal of Travel Glow
had indeed been to aim for such completely unoriginal, uninteresting, perfectly average creations, then the tactical self-destruction mission can be jotted down as a success. If anything of greater status was desired, just an iota of divergent concepts to dismantle post-hardcore’s obsession with maintaining a losing battle, then time will serve to wash this away. History is said to be written by the victors and Body Thief are not among them.