A Skylit Drive

Adelphia

Written by: TL on 19/06/2009 19:34:11

A Skylit Drive are a strange strange band to me. I heard their first EP, wasn't impressed and thus had no expectations for their first album. Then I got "Wires And The Concept Of Breathing" and I loved it. That is I loved it until right after I reviewed it, when I suddenly stopped listening to it for no apparent reason, and since then I don't think I've ever given it a full spin. Nevertheless, I think I still stand by my generous grading of it, since I still remember quite a few of its songs, and since I've still been excited whenever I heard bits of news of the following "Adelphia" album - which I now have heard and am ready to review:

From the first few seconds of opener "Prelude To A Dream" you get your hopes up. Some female vocals set the mood on top of some neat guitar work, but then the whole thing collapses into an empty breakdown and some rather pretentious screaming. From there on it quickly becomes apparent that "Adelphia" is plagued by quite a few growing pains. The most severe of which must be to blame on producer Casey Bates, because frankly, this album sounds like the band is playing at Earl's Court to an audience of one. The sound echoes around like in an empty barrel, and in a good pair of headphones it's rather messy to listen to. The other major place of regression is in the vocals of singer Michael 'Jag' Jagmin. While Jag is actually a really good singer, his high pitch is unique to put it gently - girly to put it accurately - and though this somehow worked very well on the last record, here he mostly sounds like Cyndi Lauper singing "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" (There's actually a vocal part in one of the songs endlessly similar to one from that song. Bonus points for finding it people!).

In all seriousness, Jag never finds his footing, as he finds himself stretching his voice to reach the high notes way too often, and way too seldom do we get to hear the nice variety provided by his deeper parts. This is mainly due to the fact that this album is more ambitious guitarwise, and while the focus on the axe wielders obviously allows them to flourish much more than on the previous record, the result is that the songs are suffocating under their continuous onslaught. It's a high price to pay when the bad production I spoke of is already making it hard to appreciate the instrumentals.

However, to me, this is still not a bad album, and that's ironically still because of Jag's vocals. As busy as I've been at bashing his performance here, he's simply still a skilled singer with a totally unique voice, and during the catchy parts that are spread here and there around especially the first half of the album, the music actually rocks quite steadily. The moments are just too few and far between, especially in the latter half where they are next to non-existent, and without them, the production makes it so much harder to appreciate the otherwise generous amount of music on offer here.

6

Download: Those Cannons Could Sink A Ship, Eva The Carrier
For The Fans Of: Before Their Eyes, Blessthefall, The Word Alive
Listen: myspace.com/askylitdrive

Release Date 09.06.2009
Fearless Records

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