Wednesday, March 2, 2011

98 The Hard Way: EPs, Day 2

I, Robot: I, Robot (Goldtooth)
Originality isn't something to necessarily strive for when you can do this well with a tried and true sound. Not that I, Robot are the peak of this particular form of screamo - think Indian Summer with a harsher take on the dueling vocals thing that overtook metalcore in the early 00s - but they do it with enough panache that it's easy to forget that you've heard this all before. At the forefront of that panache is the effortless intertwining of the two guitars and the bass, rarely having any of them double each other but instead working simultaneous riffs together into a very well made sonic tapestry (pretentious as that sounds) that makes it easy to forgive the slightly derivative nature of the sound. Plus the vocals, while they do fall into the cliched melodic singer/hoarse shouter duet that's gotten annoyingly played out by this point in time, have a refreshing rawness to them, even in the melodic half. All in all it's far from a revelatory exercise in the genre, but it does what it does well enough for me. [7.7/10]

Download link and image courtesy of JoliCoeur

The Day of Man As Man: Untitled 7" (Ricecontrol)
 Of all the ridiculously short-lived emo bands that the 90s gave us, I think this is the one I put the most backing behind. For a band of this level of talent, making this interesting and complex of music to only have this 7" and a pair of unreleased track to their name is borderline criminal. It's almost the logical extreme of the 'live fast, die young, leave a pretty corpse' notion, and oh man what a pretty corpse it left.

What you're getting here is only two songs, but each one is about 6 minutes long and blitzes through more changes than a lot of math-rock acts can manage in that time. The sound is at once textbook emocore, but seems too heavily indebted to the Louisville math rock scene - Rodan in particular - to place right next to the likes of Indian Summer. There are two vocalists who both cover the same ground, both in that reedy Picciotto range, but who complement each other well even when their lines seem to cross at the wrong point. The bass is the star instrument on both cuts - always a plus in my book - with a warm, full tone that doesn't get in the way of it going into moderate insanity, and when the guitar comes to the fore, like in the final section of the B side, it makes just as much of an impression. It's one of those releases that just does everything so well that it makes up for the overriding faults - the too flat production would have killed a lesser release - and leaves a hugely positive impression at the end of the day.

It's also worth noting that Cex aka Rjyan Kidwell, is the bassist here. The fact that this almost makes me want to give Cex another shot after being bored/annoyed by his material in the past says a lot for its quality. [8.7/10]

Download link and image courtesy of Desperate and Lonely

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