The Working Horse

Written by: TL on 22/10/2009 14:04:57

You see it all too often that we reviewers are faced with another example of the over-saturation of the scene for bands of the screamo/post-hardcore orientation, and that we are forced to send them packing with average grades, simply because they don't have enough.. talent? ambition? good ideas? Whatever it is, there is usually something that weighs down on most of these angry young men, and usually, only the very best of American bands manage to raise their heads far enough above the average to deserve some acclaim. Okay, so the occasional British band can sometimes contend, but as for continental Europe, have we seen it often?

Regardless, we'll see it now, or hear it to be exact, should we be so inclined as to put on the third record by Neunkirchen, Germany-based Parachutes, called "The Working Horse", which I've had the pleasure of listening to for the past weeks. Admittedly though, the album doesn't kick off as if it's out to convince us that Euros have "learned to post-harcore", as the first three tracks on it only show slight hints of an ambition to be more than a fistpumping, hard-rockin' hardcore outfit, with little variation in tempo and intensity. If you pay close attention, there's a slight hint of atmospheric melody behind the rampaging riffs though, one that reminds me of early Alexisonfire or maybe a light weight version of Misery Signals, but it never surfaces enough to really win you over.

However, as soon as the fourth track, "Dead Lights", has had its say, it's pretty much smooth sail from then on out. The song does start out loud, but immediately it drops to a subtle atmospheric part, guitars now really sounding like "Watch Out!"-era Alexisonfire, while the vocals are suddenly clean (think Story Of The Year's "Page Avenue") and this creates a great launch pad for dynamics before the pedal is floored and the screamed chorus takes off at the pace of high speed punk rock. The song continues to employ the same structure, with vocals varying between screams, clean and scratched singing, and it's like an example of what I always preach: Dynamics, dynamics and more dynamics!

"The Watcher's Report" follows suit, mixing more furious post-hardcore riffage, atmospheric slowed down periods, anthemic choruses, layered vocals, pounding drums - Suffice to say that it's another song that just works and thus engages the listener very nicely, especially during its completely mellow, sentimental bridge and soaring outro. "I Won't Miss A Part Of This" goes even more lightweight, and is faster and catchier for it, making it probably the most accessible song on the record. Naturally, the weight has to come back in, and predictably, on "How Are You Feeling Jimmy? Like A Mean Motherfucker, Sir!" it does in a manner that's dirty enough to signify that it hasn't left the picture. However, being accompanied by shitloads of attitude and a very clever inclusion of the classic U.S. marine march song (you have to hear it to understand I think), it doesn't come with any cost in accessibility or memorability.

The rest of the album pretty much follows the path set out by the melodic trio of songs I described in the previous paragraph, and hence feels very consistently good on your ears, but as if this wasn't enough, Parachutes decide to end things on a high note by inflating their sound to the maximum on the title track, leading it with even more AOF-ish riffage and an ending refrain that will have you singing along long after the last note has faded. And when you're done, you'll think to yourself, "damn, that was really well done, and these guys aren't even from the states you say?". Hell, you might even have forgotten that those first three tracks didn't really leave a lasting memory, however, I have to, but while they do weigh the album down a bit, they can't alter the fact that this is a highly enjoyable and recommendable record for any post-hardcore appreciator out there. Even more so, for those who didn't like the turn Alexisonfire took on their latest record.

Download: I Won't Miss A Part Of This, The Watcher's Report, The Working Horse
For the fans of: Alexisonfire, Therefore I Am, (early) Funeral For A Friend,

Release Date 25.09.2009
Cargo Records

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