I Don't Need Forgiveness

Written by: TL on 19/12/2013 21:21:24

Last I heard of Placeholder was when they released their 2011 debut "Nothing Is Pure", which was sort of an "almost there" record for me, in the sense that I liked the sound of it but didn't feel like it realised the band's full potential. Bands like that I only keep half an eye on, meaning that while I wanted to catch them when PP and I visited this year's FEST '12 their set was one I eventually missed due to the cluttered schedule. But to make up for this, here's a look at the Harrisburg band's sophomore album "I Don't Need Forgiveness".

In a sense the band, which has apparently shrunk to a trio at this point, is very typical of the current American punk rock climate, drenching their take on the genre in effects that sound very 90s, garage-ish and grungy - Like the guitars have intentionally had extra crunch and echo added to lend a certain feeling of lethargy to the melodies and chord progressions. On one hand this affords the band a more distinctly characteristic feel than I remember them for, and urges you to explore their world on the first listen. The downside is that it soon proves to perhaps define the record a bit too overwhelmingly, in the sense that each song feels so much like the previous one that it's hard to feel interested in getting into any of them separately.

For some reason the sound here really reminds me of Sunny Day Real Estate but in reality more current names like Basement or Daylight might be more accurate comparisons. Common for all of them are though, that they've shown more ambition in their songwriting than Placeholder have here, for despite a regular presence in my soundtrack of the past week or two, I still have a hard time picking out a moment or song from "I Don't Need Forgiveness" that's really stood out to me. One of the problems is that the vocals are almost literally monotone, in the sense that it feels like the melodies rarely reach much further than over half an octave, with especially the top note of each one often sounding the same as it did in the one before it, and while there's the occasional bit of gravel thrown in, as well as some backing vocals here and there, it's not enough to avoid the overall product sounding samey.

Eventually then, "I Don't Need Forgiveness" is the kind of record that lends itself to a somewhat shallow verdict from me, based on its inability to lure me in for any particularly deep forays into it. If you pressed me for a highlight, "Above" or "Slow Down" seem like the songs that most often have me humming along, but to me the record only really manifests itself as a characteristic and compelling sound, never as a home for particularly memorable or individually remarkable songs. It's the kind of record I feel could be an option for fans of the bands mentioned, as well as the likes of Captives, Seahaven, Citizen and such, so long as they come prepared to embrace that in terms of songwriting, Placeholder are a paler shade of this genre movement at this point in their career.


Download: Slow Down
For The Fans Of: Sunny Day Real Estate, Basement, Daylight

Release Date 17.09.2013
Black Numbers / Bear Trap

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