The Vitality Theory

Written by: BL on 13/08/2010 02:16:29

From Chicago US comes this post-hardcore six member outfit Rosaline. I had previously only loosely been exposed to their music from their last album "A Constant North" - not too much of a recollection beyond a few songs. Their followup "The Vitality Theory" really tries to pickup from where things were left off before, combining their poppy 2004 era emo influences with their keyboard reliant ambience and the occasional heavier post-hardcore sections. While they may not sound like the most original band for those who haven't heard them before, there's just something in the songs, maybe the vocal department and the rather quirky keyboards, that gives them a bit of a unique edge.

The best part of Rosaline is that they can write some very strong, yet simple hook driven choruses, and combine them with the keyboard sounds and effects to create a nice harmony of melody that sticks in your head just after a few listens. "The Messenger, Infinite" gets the album underway fairly well with well worked repeating clean passages inbetween the screaming sections. "London Lost Its Fog" is the first real highlight of the album though with catchy vocal lines both solo and group, and a great drum and keyboards driven intro. It's also got this really "epic" feel to it, especially in the chord progressions throughout. "Model Ships" continues the trend with another strong chorus, but isn't quite as remarkable as the previous track. In fact the next personal highlights don't really come until the softer number "Repeat After Me!" and the catchy yet gnarly "Concrete Teeth". The former relying on honest emotive sounding vocals and actually sounding like (albeit not quite as special) something from Dallas Green's City & Colour. Then after those it's really all about the album closer, "Recovery", which is a first half mammoth of a melodic instrumental, before a calming vocal and piano driven outro section that simply floats across your ears to bring the album to a positive end.

"The Vitality Theory" marks the debut of new vocalist Cody Lumpkin, who picks up after former singer Andrew Lang. He's a good vocalist with a strong soaring type of croon, and fortunately doesn't have the stereotypical high Saosin-esque vocals most bands seem to be sporting nowadays. He actually sounds a lot like Tyson Ritter from The All American Rejects strangely enough. The screaming varies from some mid to high range screams and sound fairly good but occasionally seem like a bit too much compared to the softer instrumentals. When they try to go low though, like on "The Disasterist", they sound really awkward and in fact ruined the song for me unfortunately. That in essence is the start of what I dislike about the album. For all the wonderful melodic parts that have some promising lasting value, there was also a slightly worrying amount of other hit and miss sections, either the odd breakdown that seemed out of place or the aforementioned brootal vocals debacle.

In the end it's worth giving the album a spin for tracks I've highlighted (in particular "Repeat After Me!" and "Recovery" though those songs sound quite different to the other tracks) and if you quite like more melodic post-hardcore, or the older emo movement from about six years ago. I don't say that to accuse them of trying to sound irrelevant ofcourse, because those parts are very redeeming in the face of all the one way chugcore that fills the genre these days (despite even having a chuggy song "Neuqua Valley Gunslinger"). Just need to sort out those miscued heavy vocals and work on expanding the clean sections more and these guys will be onto something really good.


Download: London Lost Its Fog, Repeat After Me!, Concrete Teeth, Recovery
For the fans of: The Color Morale, Hopes Die Last, Arms Like Yours
Listen: Myspace

Release date 19.07.2010
Good Fight Entertainment

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