Ten After Two

Truth Is...

Written by: BL on 13/06/2011 05:51:11

The American comtemporary post-hardcore genre is in a severe need of a fresh new sound. What's considered the norm for a band trying to cut their teeth playing what the kids over there want to hear these days result in too many young second rate bands all suffering from a lack of exciting or new ideas. Scaramento, California's Ten After Two were exactly that kind of band with their first EP "If You Don't First", doing what's popular with the light melodies into heavy breakdowns, the screaming into singing, the fairly unambitious song writing of the kind I've heard probably a million times before. It proved enough to get them signed with Rise Records somehow though, and so it seemed like Ten After Two were given a shot to see if they could play with the big boys with their debut full length "Truth Is...".

"Truth Is..." is only a somewhat successful endeavor, in that it isn't a complete borefest and isn't completely recycled and rehashed as one would expect when thinking of similar bands like Memphis May Fire, Broadway and Of Mice & Men. Generally speaking Ten After Two haven't really added much that could be considered new nor have they changed much about what they're doing - it's still post-hardcore with sparkling singing, screamed verses, breakdowns here and there and other usual tricks. However to the band's credit, the songs sound as if they have genuinely tried to experiment a little. Some of the guitar riffs are a little more unusual and intricate as apparent when the fairly decent opener "Yes" gets under way. Elsewhere the song structures have also gotten a little more unpredictable (for example after the generic breakdown intros to "Dead After Dallas" and "Satan's Slumber Party" things actually get a lot more interesting) and later on we get to hear some slightly different influences (starting with "Well, Oh Well"), though with this comes some awkward transitions that don't always feel very fluid and come off as too forceful or mechanical. Both the clean vocals and the screams are still extremely cookie cutter unfortunately in their sound, but seem well done enough and are traded to and from effectively, with the former boasting some big choruses that are easy to sing to and have their catchy moments (notably in "Before You Know It" and album titled "Truth Is...").

It seems like Joey Sturgis isn't the go-to producer for new scene records like he once was, most now instead opt for Chango Studios' Cameron Mizell and Ten After Two are no different in that regard. While Cameron's production generally seems as-polished with a more raw guitar tone compared to the standard sturgiscore, the vocal production and electronic effects become a bit too familiar to anyone who has heard all the recent records the guy has produced (Woe, Is Me, A Bullet For Pretty Boy, I See Stars and Memphis May Fire to name a few). This means that initial impressions will actually work against Ten After Two's favour when you consider how indistinguishable the screaming sounds to those bands I've just mentioned. However later songs like "A Sight At Sea" and closer "Believe Me" showcase a more mature side that starts seems to tap into the band's potential to be more than another averagecore band. More careful listens and it becomes clear that these kids know how to play their respective instruments pretty well, and in places, can even write some killer stuff. However they have still yet to shake off the problems of repetition that plagues the genre like the black death, "The Awe Song" while on its own isn't an entirely bad song, in the context of the album seems like an unimpressive regurgitation of various parts of earlier tracks which is a shame.

I have no problem with Ten After Two at least trying to make something more out of themselves with "Truth Is...". While ultimately the replay value is probably limited to fans of the genre only, some may be a little surprised at the variation these guys manage to pull off from time to time. Naysayers and cynics will still find some ammunition to fuel their argument that this album is an example of a genre that has little hope left or much else to offer, but I am still not totally convinced that we need to be so hasty just yet given I enjoyed my casual listens of it. Just ignore the fact that for some bizarre reason the cover has the same art as Bullet For My Valentine's "Fever".

7

Download: Before You Know It, A Sight At Sea, Believe Me
For the fans of: Memphis May Fire, Broadway, Of Mice & Men
Listen: Myspace

Release Date 29.03.2011
Rise Records

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