Review Summary: As fresh as un-fresh can get.”I’m the wretched window of a god and I’m infatuated with the marks”
sings confidently the Detroit-based rock band Narco Debut’s vocalist Eric Pachota in the first few seconds to kick off the newcomers’ debut full-length Strange & Ever-Changing Depths
. They have entered the technical post-hardcore tinged alt rock scene populated by heavyweights like Coheed & Cambria
and Circa Survive
ready to shoot for the stars. The quartet’s talent as musicians is apparent and the introspective, aggressive lyrical content shows that they are for real, but as so often, that is not enough to make one stand out from the pool.
The technical prowess of Narco Debut is prevalent from the get go. They masterfully toy with the rhythms in the opening track ”This Feels Just Like Heaven” to give the album an immediate drive and quickly change the tone in favour of a more atmospheric approach which is surely welcome as the band has a great spatial awareness. With a pleasantly bass-heavy mixing, it seems like an enjoyable effort for sure. But does this sound a little too familiar？ Undoubtedly, as the singer Pachota follows right in the footsteps of the aforementioned Coheed & Cambria’s Claudio Sanchez, rather perfectly imitating his range, his accent, all of his oh-oh stretches. And as everyone familiar with Sanchez’s vocal style knows, it’s quite an acquired taste. The music behind the vocals is more playful in a way, but not enough to push the immediate musical comparison away. Take the song ”Omniscient Verses”, from the heavier side of the album’s spectrum for example and there’s really no difference to be heard.
The band does know how to hold their own too, though. It doesn’t necessarily work in the poppy ”Yukon” which sounds like your every day pop punk band’s poor attempt at a ”thoughtful” summer hit. ”Wanderlush” however is an echoey, airy, almost emo revival-y (yeah that’s not a word) track booming into a soothing climax, followed by the simplistic yet effective ”Azulita”, reminding of the wondrous combo of ”Wendover”/”We Need More Skulls” off The World Is a Beatiful Place…
. At this point, you can hear a shift in Narco Debut’s style as they move onto a more dreamy soundscape. It’s, once again, a fresh-sounding take, although Pachota’s vocals are still a hit or miss, as he never seems to be able to escape his Sanchez-isms.
Another problem with Strange & Ever-Changing Depths
is that the technical elements which made the opening track sound incredibly fresh are heavily toned down in the latter half of the album and towards the end of the album it’s already a little stale although the closer ”Church Bells & Cemetery Rules” nicely picks up and ends the album on a high note. But after all this, what are we left with？ Sadly, not really all that much that makes us remember Narco Debut in the long run.