Porphyria's Lover EP

Written by: PP on 05/01/2007 17:01:48

From the opening moments of the title track of Penknifelovelife's second EP "Porphyria's Lover" where vocalist Adam Philips screams his lungs out in perfect coordination with the guitars, the band's development since the debut EP becomes both clear and impressive. They have found their way into a studio and learnt how to record properly, as the difference between the old songs like "There Is Nothing More Romantic Than Watching The World Die" and the title track is colossal. The lo-fi garage feel has been exchanged with a professional production where all instruments and vocals have been mixed together to complement each other perfectly.

The band has also slightly changed direction. Where the first album was borderline screamo borderline hardcore, "Porphyria's Lover" is most definitely the prior. But what separates the band from the grey mass of similar sounding bands is their ability to avoid screaming in places where it isn't entirely necessary. Their vocalist masters the art of switching his voice from screamo to clean to screamo in the same breath, making much of his vocal work sound much more desperate and consequently more passionate. Clean vocals aren't shunned upon, and the title track has more than just two 'breakout' sessions where the constant breakdowns and ear-pleasing scales pause for brief Misery Signals style soft instrumental passages which are often complemented by clean singing. "It's 2AM And I Saw Her Body Cavort The Lake Bed" is perhaps the track that sounds closest to their debut EP here, but even in this one the songwriting evolution the band has gone through is evident. Subtle rhythm changes and the suddenly erupting screams that stop as quickly as they flare up add character in this song too, and make me drool for the possibility of a full length album by the band in the near future.

From the five tracks on the EP, only these two are new tracks, and the remaining three are live recordings of the two new ones and their now-classic "There Is Nothing More Romantic...". While I would've preferred more new tracks, the live versions of the tracks sound exactly as heard on the album, removing any doubt about Adam's live abilities and creating pictures of him rushing back and forth the stage on my mind.

While "Prophyria's Lover EP" or the band themselves are nothing new in the wallowing sea of screamo bands, they still rise to the top quartile due to their sense for flow in their music. The fact that screaming isn't forcibly placed on every line and every stressed line makes the songs sound more original and characteristic than, say, Senses Fail's latest album, and makes the EP a must have for all screamo/melodic hardcore fans.


Download: Porphyria's Lover
For the fans of: Misery Signals, Senses Fail, From Autumn To Ashes, From First To Last, Drop Dead Gorgeus
Listen: Myspace

Release date 06.12.2006
Small Town Records

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