While Broken Hearts Prevail EP

Written by: TL on 01/12/2008 13:34:20

Probability says that if I was given the opportunity of nominating one band to the category of "Best Band Ever", Emery would be my choice. If you check out my Last.FM profile, you'll find that Emery have about twice as many plays as any other band, so yeah, it's fair of you to expect that this review may be biased - but I assure you that I'll do my best to-.. I'm gonna be obj-.. I promise to remain-.. look, if you don't like Emery, you simply haven't realised their greatness yet, alright?!

Seriously though, after releasing three albums over the span of the past four years, Emery have decided to release an EP dubbed "While Broken Hearts Prevail" as an appetiser before they return with their fourth full length "In Shallow Seas We Sail" some time in 2009. Rather than continuing the progressive steps Emery have taken with their songwriting on each album, "While Broken Hearts Prevail" sees them pick up on elements that have proved successful on all three previous albums, putting them together in new songs and effectively making them sound like all three generations of Emery merged into one. "Ten Talents" has an opening that sounds like a direct tribute to "As Her Voice Fades", "Always Depends" boasts of electronics reminiscent of those on dominating "The Question" and "Edge Of The World" is driven by a muted riff much similar to that of "The Movie Song". Screaming is back in the soundscape, but in a more controlled supporting role, ensuring that the expression never gets quite as heavy as it could be on the band's two first albums. Instead, the overall feel of the EP is much like the lighter and more playful parts "The Question" also contained. Think "Studying Politics" and "Listening To Freddy Mercury" and you're getting close.

Initial listens of "While Broken Hearts Prevail EP" are much like it always is with Emery. You know it's supposed to be great, but you can't quite see that it is. The band's habit of loading every song with more than their minimum share of pieces and fitting them in orders that aren't always obvious can be a bit bewildering, and it takes time to adjust your ears to the most catchy parts that are usually in the verses or bridges and thus only come around once in each song. Once you get there though, listening to Emery is as enjoyable as ever, as the band still master the art of drenching its listener in a dark romantic mood, stitching songs of regret and sadness like a thick blanket around them. Lyrically, it seems to me like the band are only getting better, especially portrayed in the dead on accuracy with which backing vocalist Devin Shelton describes miscommunication in a relationship, while borrowing the lead-role from Toby Morell for the duration of "Edge Of The World". Along with "Ten Talents", those two songs highlight the EP, only exceeded by its opener "The Smile, The Face" - A song that opens with an off-angle heavy part, much like the classic "Walls", only to slide seamlessly into a captivating verse that leads into a soaring chorus. Once you've heard it a couple of times, it'll follow you forever, just like the Emery songs you'll know and love if you're already into the band.

Looking at the EP from the top, it's easily an on form extension of the band, showcasing elements from all periods of their career. The songs are on par with most of the material the band has written for their last two albums, while they do pale a bit in comparison to the highlights of both of those, as well as to the entire "The Weak's End" record (which featured ONLY highlights). Overall, I am going to be a bit hard on "While Broken Hearts Prevail" though. The reason is that while I like it, and I totally get into the Emery-mood while listening to it, I never quite reach the peaks of engulfment that I've done with the best of the band's songs, and for that reason, I just can't bring myself to give it 8 or more. Any fan of Emery's, or of similar bands like A Thorn For Every Heart or Taking Back Sunday, should still get it though, as it's still easily a rewarding and consistent listen.

Download: "The Smile, The Face", "Edge Of The World", "Ten Talents"
For The Fans Of: A Thorn For Every Heart, Taking Back Sunday, A Heartwell Ending
Listen: myspace.com/emery

Release Date 28.10.2008
Tooth And Nail Records

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