Without Thought

Get Down And Give Me Infinity

Written by: BL on 26/08/2009 17:07:24

Hailing from Guildford in the UK, comes along a (previously unknown to me) quintet out to stamp itself onto the British music scene with this new debut album of of theirs. When the band contacted me, they drew comparisons saying that if I liked The Devil Wears Prada, I'd also like their music, and while these guys sound nothing like TDWP, they at least managed to intrigue this writer enough to request a copy of their album for review, and here it is after having been dissected as always.

Stylistically it's actually difficult to place a finger on the exact style of music these guys play. Loosely fitting into the post-hardcore bracket with a touch of hardcore punk, they draw influences (at least from what I can hear) from some broad areas in the genre. The clean vocals courtesy of Jim Newbury have hints of bands like The Black Maria (on the single "With Any Arms") and The Blackout (especially on the excellent "Who Killed Laura Palmer"). They're tuneful and much stronger than the screaming and growls interlaced here and there, where there's this grainy, raspy tone that somewhat detracts from the performance - although there are luckily some decent backing growls that add more thickness to the sound at just the right moments in songs like "Open Your Eyes" and "Discipline". The cleans are a big plus for the band though, with some really memorable emotive sing-a-longs in the majority of the tracks (personal favourites litter through "Recovery" and "Who Killed Laura Palmer"). Lastly the lyrics are well written and have a lot of depth to them as well as a poetic substance:

"There's no change, you're so transparent / Or a ghost so emotionless / will bring you down onto your knees"

The production is decent - clean and crisp, but perhaps lacking a little in thickness in the low end. Everything feels accentuated when it needs to be for the most part, and the soothing clean guitar sections have that sparkling, floating quality. Speaking of guitars, this album has a really enjoyable and diverse collection of licks of all sorts that at times sound kind of like Funeral For A Friend (the final track in particular) or I Am Ghost. You get heavy parts like on "Recovery", "Self Preservation" and "In Your Hands" that are dissonant and often have a sense of uneasiness about them, like an angry caged animal, while there are rocking parts that have this cool, collected swagger like on the start of "Self Preservation", and then the funky stuff you get on the "Regretamine" intro - all signs of confident axe wielding from Jim Kirk and Guy Davies. It is fortunate in some ways that this band has also steered clear of the cliches that exist in most other similar bands, like annoying breakdowns or generic second rate melodic death harmonies, and though they do make fair use the haunting melodic guitar lines you get on other post-hardcore acts, often they're very subtle and make for extra decoration.

Everything is held together by some really interesting drum work from Will Luck (the highlights being tracks 5, 6 and 7) and especially the spacey introspective beats near the end of "The Krunch" are a great touch. The bass guitar is unfortunately a little too inaudible to recount its presence, which is a bit of a shame, but given the apparent widespread problem in almost every other band I hear, I can't dock these guys that much for it. Other negative criticisms are somewhat few and far between. My only real concern perhaps lies with the fact that the music never really excels at any type of sound. Everything is competent and well thought out but nothing ever takes your breath away, which is probably what limits the band from really competing right now with the bigger names. At least there's a real sense of life and energy with these songs (which is no doubt due to the vocal work combined with the interesting guitars) and one is left wondering why this band isn't actually bigger than they are. At the end of the day though, this is an enjoyable album with plenty of promise for the future and is just about able to match the recent efforts of the bands already mentioned, but they still got plenty to do to carve out a spot for themselves in the long run. Here's hoping that they do.

7

Download: Recovery, Self-Preservation, Who Killed Laura Palmer
For the fans of: I Am Ghost, The Black Maria, The Blackout, Funeral For A Friend
Listen: Myspace

Release date 25.05.2009
IRL/Regretamine Records

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