Attack In Black

Years (By One Thousand Fingertips)

Written by: PP on 17/03/2009 16:13:42

About two years ago, Attack In Black dropped a bombshell on the scene with "Marriage", a universally acclaimed album that was as simple as it was intricate, and as straight-forward as it was complex. Every cherished element of rock music was present from the varying instrumentation to a great amount of subtle passion that dripped through every lyric and every guitar riff on the album. It wasn't flashy by any means, but it conveyed raw emotion and feeling better than any emo band I've ever come across - and Attack In Black have nothing to do with emo whatsoever. For more information on the record, check out my review from 2007, because it forms the basis on exactly why I just can't stand their sophomore (actually it's their third, but I don't count the acoustic album released only few months after "Marriage" a real album) release "Years (By One Thousand Fingertips)".

So to cut straight to the chase, "Years..." is pretty much the polar opposite of "Marriage". All post-hardcore and punk influences have been thrown out the window, replaced by the same folk rock as heard partly on "Inches And Ages". And when I mean replaced, I really mean that the band threw out everything else and focused on 60s rock and folk rock only on this release. In practice, that translates into an acoustic guitar, calm, soft vocals without the passionate outbursts, and generally a singer-songwriter vibe. Now, this approach works on a couple tracks, such as the magnificent "Birmingham" and to a lesser extent on the title track. These tracks see vocalist Romano show exactly why he is among many people's favorite frontmen, as his emotional vocal delivery is so full of nostalgia that it makes every listener reflect on their life on spot. But for the most part it bores me lifeless - this is just not what any fan of "Marriage" could possibly have wanted from the band. This isn't just a 180 degree turn, it's a 180 degree turn and 30 miles (years?) worth of backtracking.... except not really, because these guys used to be a hardcore punk band in their early days. This folk rock thing, well, most of us thought it was just a 'phase' for the band on that "Curve Of The Earth" acoustic album that I didn't even bother to review, but apparently it's what they want to do to the detriment of all fans of their previous output.

There are a few of exceptions where the electric guitar and Bear Vs Shark influence returns, most notably on "Liberties", a track that could've almost been on "Marriage". This is the type of stuff we wanted from the band all along, subtle singing and instrumentation with sudden outbursts of energy and rawness from seemingly nowhere. "I Could Turn" reminds me a lot of "If All I Thought Were True", acting as another redeeming factor on the record. Then you've got a track like "Seeds", which otherwise could be good, but the band's new-found DIY attitude and decision to record on an 8-track makes the track suffer heavily. Track 14, "Moon Of Day", is another example like "Liberties", it's a song that sounds like the Attack In Black that many of us learned to love so much over the past two years. But there aren't enough exceptions on the 16-track album to warrant a higher grade than I'm about to give them. While nobody blames bands for not wanting to write the same album year after year (although in some cases, that is exactly what some bands should do), it kills me that nobody from Dine Alone Records sat down with these guys half-way through writing this album to say: "Guys, do you really think this is a good idea?".


Download: Birmingham, Moon of Day, Liberties
For the fans of: The Junction, Bear Vs Shark, 60s rock
Listen: Myspace

Release date 10.03.2009
Dine Alone Records

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