We Do What We Want

Written by: TL on 12/04/2011 22:34:23

While most of you will likely happily believe that the recent hold up in reviews was because I was out intoxicating myself somewhere, in actuality such doings were only marginally to blame compared to the fact that for two weeks now, I've been in continual confrontation with "We Do What We Want". The fifth album of the band I call my favourite of all, South Carolina's quintet-turned-quartet Emery, is as daunting a task for me to undertake, as is any new album from their hand. Not so much because I feel troubled having to be objective, but more so because this is an unusual band considering the excessive amount of stuff that usually takes place on their records, and in all honesty, I always question whether I miss any crucial observations.

One deceptively simple way to introduce the band to newcomers is to say they basically sound like the bastard child of UnderOATH and Queen, integrating dissonant post-hardcore heaviness seamlessly with surging melodies, while singing and screaming with unrestrained emotion in songs that often feature lyrics themed around highly critical self-scrutiny.

The title "We Do What We Want" has double meaning, as its cover pokes at Christian hypocrites that do as they please while claiming to live a life of religion, while the words themselves also reveal that Emery are at a point in their career where they have so much confidence in their ideas that they aren't exactly worried about what their fans or critics want them to do. It is the first album from the band after the recently announced hiatus of Devin Shelton, who previously shared lead vocals, bassist and guitarist duties with Toby Morell, who for the first time has had to shoulder the majority of both the singing and the songwriting.

From the sound of the album, however, all four remaining members have eagerly stepped up to fill the gap, as "We Do What We Want" sees the band explore every corner of their sound, gradually taking you from some of the heaviest and most abrasive moments they've written through more melodic and experimental stuff, and over into an ending consisting of two entirely acoustic songs. In fact, for the duration of the record, only the guitarist Matt Carter's work seems to have gotten a bit one-dimensional on occasion, while Morell provides his most nuanced singing performance to date, effectively ensuring that Shelton is missed only very little in this department.

As mentioned, the album starts with three mighty wreckers that, while still including enough melody to remain memorable, also contain enough abrasive twists and turns and beatings, to shake the mind of anyone accustomed only to conventional song-writing. Fans of the frantic screams and breaks of the band's older material should have a field day here, as especially track two, "Scissors", provides both pummeling punishment and infectious melody, well before you even get a chance to figure out where the song is heading.

With "The Curse Of Perfect Days", things start to become a little more sensible, as Emery allow melodies to carry more weight in the next handful of songs, starting off by giving this song perhaps the catchiest chorus they've written since 2007's "The Party Song". "I'm Not Here For Rage, I'm Here For Revenge", also shines via a memorable refrain followed by a blazing guitar solo - courtesy of JB Brubaker of August Burns Red - but "Daddy's Little Peach" easily makes for the stand out track of the record via slick experimentation with off-beat and electronica and a super explosive ending. As for the two acoustic songs that round the album off - with the best one, "Fix Me", being the only Shelton composition on the record - both feature Emery at their most sappy and religious recklessly vulnerable, and while I personally like them I think that a) they might have the most polarizing effect of any songs on the album and b) I'm not sure I like the way they terminally make the album appear as getting gradually less intense from start to finish.

Speaking of religious, I guess there was never a way for me to avoid making this review biblical in length, and for that I apologize. I could honestly speak for hours about the meticulous attention to detail, the curious approach to song-writing and the cleverly constructed transitions - all reasons for why I consider Emery in a different league compared to most bands - and all present as plentiful on this album as on any the previous ones. I appreciate the rarity of music that is this intelligent, and yet still also this forthcoming - BUT - to provide but a few critical observations, one could notice that Morell's screaming is nowhere near as versatile and impressive as his singing, much in the same way that, while good, this record is still not in the same ball park as the previous one. According to my Emery rankings then, it falls beneath "In Shallow Seas We Sail" and "The Weak's End", and aligns pretty equally with "The Question", which means that indeed, it is still pretty God damn good.


Download: Daddy's Little Peach, Scissors, The Curse Of Perfect Days,
For The Fans Of: Thursday, Dead Poetic, fantasizing about Queen being an emocore band
Listen: myspace.com/emery

Release Date 29.03.2011
Tooth And Nail / Solid State

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