Review Summary: I hate it here and never want to leave.
For a long time now, Counterparts have felt to me like a band dancing impeccably to someone else’s tune. A collective of monstrously skilled artists, Counterparts were never shy to wear their influences in their sound. Since their impressive debut on Prophets
, the band has made a career out of minor changes. Like a statue painstakingly chipped and shaped to form, only to be smashed to the ground in discontent, this has felt like an ongoing process that never quite fully took shape.
In this sense, Nothing Left to Love
is Counterparts in their final form. All iterations of their sound through their albums seem to be represented and refined upon. Clean singing is even featured on several songs, but it feels neither forced nor disingenuous when it’s next to some of the most beautiful melodies and devastating breakdowns the band has ever written.
The album smashes any remaining doubt that Counterparts are here to continue down the path that genre legends like Misery Signals or Shai Hulud cleared for future generations. For some time now, the band has melded the polyrhythmic chaos that became Misery Signals’ trademark to the melodic leads that Matt Fox has carried an entire career on top of. In a way, Counterparts feel like the complete antithesis of a band that wanted to evolve. They knew what they wanted to sound like from day one, but that vision never fully coalesced until now.
Lyricist Brendan Murphy’s signature one-liners punctuate the ripest moments on tracks like “Cherished” as if perched on the knife edge between melody and chaos that the band has claimed as home. Front to back, Nothing Left to Love
teems with memorable tidbits that haunt listeners when they fade. The eponymous album closer brings a sense of inevitability to the work, reverberating themes first screamed out in the opening track. Not a single moment on the record feels lazy or phoned in.
Nothing Left to Love
rails against every bitter reality of the human condition. And yet oddly, in fully giving voice all the negative emotions that wear on us, Counterparts have made something profoundly beautiful. The very fact that Nothing Left to Love
is heart-wrenching and raw in a way that the band never fully was before shows the depth of passion on display here. Throughout these songs, we peer into the devastating fact of our own impermanence. No fond reminiscing here; this is a brutally honest and inconsolable eulogy for the passing of time itself.