Written by: TL on 29/07/2008 13:23:57

When Emarosa picked up the already (in)famous Jonny Craig to front their band, it became inevitable for their debut album \"Relativity\" to be compared with that of Jonny\'s earlier band Dance Gavin Dance, and given that, I\'m willing to jump right into it and say that if you\'re expecting another \"Downtown Battle Mountain\", you\'ll be sorely disappointed.

Now I\'ve been listening to \"Relativity\" several times a day for about a week now, trying to get under its skin, and still it seems to me that I\'ve only grasped part of its essence. I think the best way to explain the difference between Emarosa and Dance Gavin Dance is to compare them to Saosin and Circa Survive. When Saosin blew us away with \"Translating The Name EP\", Anthony Green\'s departure for Circa Survive made us wonder if that was going to be as good, and while I think most people can agree that Circa\'s more layered and complex sound is pretty fuckin\' good, I also think that most people also still hold \"Translating..\" in higher regard than any of their albums. If that\'s going to hold true for \"Downtown Battle Mountain\" and \"Relativity\" I dare not predict, but the difference in style and expression is about the same. Where \"Downtown..\" had its jaw-dropping moments that blew the vaults wide open, \"Relativity\" rather sports a more subtle expression, with less predictable structures and compositions, effectively making it somewhat more inaccessible. Also, it is somewhat less of a \"screamo\" record than \"Downtown..\", again fitting the Saosin/Circa Survive comparison, in focusing on continuing melodies in both vocals and guitar lines, rather than turning on the aggression and the simpler quiet/loud dynamics.

None of this needs to be a bad thing though, and opener \"The Past Should Stay Dead\" certainly hits the ground running with a title suggesting that all these comparisons to DGD probably aren\'t something the band is all too interesting in hearing about. Straight off the bat, Jonny displays why Emarosa probably shat themselves with joy when they realised they could have him onboard, extending his high notes while retaining an edge in them like he\'s about to burst with emotion, and adding depth and air to his lower parts. In terms of vocal skill, the Saosin/Circa comparison seems to be almost justified here as well. \"Just Another Marionette\" maintains a high level of quality, but from then on, the album takes on the aspects of a rocky ride, featuring a handful of highlights always separated by one or two less interesting tracks.

The thing to get about this record is that its hooks aren\'t as obviously placed and arranged as they would be on a more streamlined album, but nonetheless there are captivating moments to be found in songs apart from the two I\'ve already mentioned, like \"Heads Or Tails? Real Or Not?\", \"Set It Off Like Napalm\" and \"Pretend. Release. The Close\". You simply have to listen for them. It is these moments that serve in the bands favor, displaying that they are definetely on to something. Against them however, is the fact that I\'ve only been able to locate moments like those in about half the tracks on the record, and while that doesn\'t necessarily mean they aren\'t there, it is symptomatic of how Emarosa still haven\'t perfected the art of picking the listener up and leading him or her through their songs, imbuing upon him the importance of each part. Obviously that is always going to be harder when you deviate from classic songstructure and write songs like they do, but nevertheless it\'s something they need to evolve in order to blow Dance Gavin Dance and other contemporaries out of the water for real.

Download: The Past Should Stay Dead, Set It Off Like Napalm, Heads Or Tails? Real Or Not?
For The Fans Of: Circa Survive, Secret And Whisper, Dance Gavin Dance
Listen: myspace.com/emarosa

Release date 21.06.2008
Victory Records

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