Friday, June 20, 2008

Emarosa- Relativity

Around May last year, if you would have asked me what I thought about Emarosa, I would have told you I thought they lacked originality, musical maturity, and were struggling to find their sound. However, among this, I would have also told you that I saw an indescribable potential in their song writing capabilities. What it took to see that happen, or what changes needed to be made were unforeseeable at the time, but one thing is for sure, something did change, and something did happen.

Fast forward to the fall of 2007, after seeing Johnny Craig, former singer of Dance Gavin Dance, had parted ways with his former band, and Emarosa had begun writing new material for their follow up to their first release. Thanks to contacts, and what probably was their relationship as label mates, Craig eventually made his way to Kentucky, in an abrupt performance in the band's hometown, shocking most, and leaving people wondering what's next?

So here we are, i'm currently listening to the record, song for song, and from the very beginning, the albums introduction "The Past Should Stay Dead" sets the tone, in every since of the word for the rest of the record. The first thing that stands out, is maybe one of the most precise recordings i've ever heard from a Rise band. Crisp, layered overtones of ambient guitars, mixed with subtle drumming, slight atmospheric key parts, and of course, the harshness of Craig's phenomenal voice. The production on this record is every bit just right. Mixed perfectly, and NOT over mastered, in which is a rarity when standing next to most Rise releases.

Each song moves along masterfully, the music adding an almost romantic, yet epic feel, and using Johnny Craig's voice as almost an atlas to gude you through the journey, using intricate, and technical melodies, hardly ever repeating, and completely avoiding the use of a chorus.

Perhaps the strongest point of the record comes from "Heads or Tails, Real or Not"
The songs stands epic from start to end, with probably one of the most climactic melodies i've possibly ever heard. The vocal prowess, and presence in this song sounds like something one would see be highlighted on American Idol. It has such a strong, and heartfelt feel to it, it's almost impossible to describe with words.
Though this song seems quite the stretch from old Emarosa, there are songs with the same "attack" so to say as other bands would do. Songs like "Set it Off Like Napalm" and "Pretend Release the Close" both are a little more agressive than most of the other record, and I will say they take some getting used to, because they are quite different from the demo versions most have fallen in love with, but they're still great.

Bottom line is that this has completely estabilshed themselves, and developed an incredible sense of originality with this record. They could have completely taken the easy way out with what they have been given. A vocalist that could be singing songs on top 40 R&B radio, mixed with ambient, and melodic music. The band could have made every song on this record have choruses out the rear, but they completely avoid that, they also could have had catchy hooks and melodies, but they even go as far as to avoid that. Craig's voice, along with the music is every where, and instead of hitting you with "catchy" they grab you with force and drive, causing an almost trance like feel.

This record is amazing, and while I think the band still has some potential to unlock, this is quite the effort. It may not be a record of the year, simply because they are competing with an almost Beatles-esque Death Cab for Cutie album, but I guarantie you won't hear another record that sounds like this, at least not this year.


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