Gwen Stacy

A Dialogue

Written by: DR on 17/11/2009 12:26:34

"Sometimes it's necessary to put things in a very basic, or very plain way", is how Gwen Stacy start their second album. Clearly an attempt to justify the path "A Dialogue" takes, as they completely ignore the daring 'we'll take the road less travelled approach', and have opted for the other path. The one that now has a gigantic signpost at the start which reads '_____core this way'. This path has been walked so many times it now has a clear tract, signs everywhere that those who walked it before have posted, and if you choose to ignore those, you can always replicate their footsteps - which have unfortunately now been worn down due to the footsteps of those dreaded wannabes.

You probably think I'm going to pick apart "A Dialogue" now, right? Well, I'm not. Gwen Stacy clearly don't need to lead us all into a brave new genre, when they do this old one so much better than nearly every other band out there. Their overall sound is a vast improvement from "The Life I Know" - which got tiresome fast. It seemed too safe and too forced; a riff here, screams there and breakdowns, well, everywhere. The breakdowns on "A Dialogue" are now more sparse, which is a good thing, and when they are used they are well-placed and not for the sake of it (coming from someone who regards breakdowns to be nearly as unholy as autotune). Furthermore, Geoff Jenkins' screams are a vast improvement on Cole’s, particularly because the new guy’s vocals certainly cannot be accused of being as monotonous as his predecessor’s, but instead have a more raw and guttural edge to them . The new found intensity of Gwen Stacy seems to have drawn the best out of Brent Schindler's cleans also, he now has more than a bit-part role, and because the band as a whole have improved so much it now suggests at a very promising chemistry between the two vocalists.

One thing in particular that was surprising is how Gwen Stacy seem to have inadvertently stepped into pop-punk-hardcore-esque waters. It could simply be that Brent has a voice that wouldn't seem out of place in pop-punk, but Gwen Stacy do seem to have put their feet into that water, just a little. Particularly on songs like "The First Words" and "A Dialogue" the band seamlessly switch between awesome screamage and ridiculously catchy-poppy-chorus without the need for a breakdown in between (*cough* A Day To Remember). Two songs that deserve particular mention are "Words Of The New Prophet" and "The Sound of Letting Go", the former being one of their best songs to date, and also of the few moments when the musicianship really comes into its daring own, while the latter is Geoff’s best performance on the entire record – he screams "Eye to eye, hand in hand, face to face." and it’s addictive! A further testament to the awesomeness of this album is that the songs sound almost as though it could be the offspring off Underoath, but without sounding like a b-side.

It will never ever in a million billion trillion years change your mind about the genre, but if you think Gwen Stacy are trying to then you are, in all likelihood, deluded. Though they are certainly not saviours of ____core, they at least give it a good kick up the arse, showing how it's meant to be done: bigger and better. I think we can all agree that Underoath are, by a long way, leading this scene, but Gwen Stacy are leading the chasing pack .


Download: A Dialogue, Words Of The New Prophet, The Sound Of Letting Go
For Fans of: Underoath, In Fear And Faith, Oh, Sleeper
Listen: Myspace

Release Date 20.10.2009
Solid State Records

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