Jamie's Elsewhere

Rebel-Revive

Written by: TL on 25/04/2014 10:19:30

Considering that there are only two original members left of Jamie's Elsewhere (guitarist Matt Scarpelli and keyboardist Mike Spearman) and that the band has substituted lead vocalists for each new album (most recently when Aaron Pauley left to sing and play bass for Of Mice And Men) I must admit to being somewhat surprised that the Sacramento quintet is actually still a band. As is apparent with the recent release of their third opus "Rebel-Revive" however, the band has stuck to the Victory Records roster and are still persistently frequenting what I would call the second layer of the American post-hard-/metalcore circuit.

The good news is that between them, Scarpelly and Spearman have consistently shown a knack for keeping up with their scene, disregarding traditional genre boundaries in order to seamlessly blend in all the newest trends in a soundscape that is hyper-modern without ever sounding gimmicky. Thus "Rebel-Revive" is a relatively ambitious production full of dissonant breakdown parts, blazing metalcore leads, theatrical ambiance, Issues-like RnB infusions and even the odd echo of EDM effects here and there.

This makes for a fairly fresh and diverse listening experience, as the album takes you through its ten tracks, bolstered with guest appearances from Garret Rapp (The Color Morale), Tyler Carter (issues), pop-artist Dev and Phil Druyor and Nick Sampson (both of I Am Abomination among others). Regretably, while new frontman Justin Kyle does a solid job at the lead vocals, fans that haven't read about Pauley's departure online will have my forgiveness if they do not notice the switch, as Kyle's tone and delivery is similarly typical for the genre, and like with Pauley's efforts on the band's previous album "They Said A Storm Was Coming" I remain relatively lukewarm in response to Jamie's Elsewhere's ever auto-tune-tinged clean vocal parts.

Still, Kyle's melodic vocal lines remain the sticking points that they're intended to be, with decent enough hooks being littered across songs like opener "Empty Eyes", "Closure", "The Illusionist" and "Back Stabber". "The Cover Up" probably stands out as the album highlight however, courtesy of the most striking lead riff and vocal melody combination. The overall melodiousness of the track is a stark contrast to the mean streak the band displays in the raging "Back Stabber", which - despite the solid hook that I alluded to - also shows the band's tendency for run-of-the-mill heavyness, the type of which sounds passable but never really feels like quite the punch in the gut that fans of such should hope for.

Overall "Rebel-Revive" is a good but not a great album in the genre. On one hand it's encouraging to hear a band that tries to integrate their many ideas in meaningful way and a coherent flow, but the flipside of this is that Jamie's Elsewhere rarely emphasize the most brazen details in their sound in a way that could give them a needed sense of brazen charisma, and consequentially the listening experience swings from "yeah, this gets the job done" on a good day to "hmm, somewhat generic" on a duller one. It's tempting of course, to just blame Justin Kyle for not being the stand-out vocalist like a Tyler Carter or a Devin Oliver (I See Stars), but really I feel like it's probably the whole band that needs to get a little more audacious in the songwriting process, lest they remain where "Rebel-Revive" finds them: Which is right there huddled closely together with the ones listed below here.

7

Download: The Cover Up, Backstabber, Empty Eyes, The Illusionist
For The Fans Of: Issues, A Skylit Drive, In Fear And Faith, Secrets
Listen: facebook.com/jamieselsewhere

Release date 08.04.2014
Self-released

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