When It Rains

Written by: PP on 10/12/2015 22:33:22

Montréal, Canada-based Vacant are just about the most obvious Touché Amoré / La Dispute clone in quite some time. Given the surging popularity of the original screamo revival in what was at some point referred to as the 'wave', new bands influenced by the two heavyweights are now saturating the genre left and right, as we've seen with groups like My Fictions, Xerxes, Young Turks, and particularly Cavalcades who basically are the exact same band as Vacant here. Common to most of these groups has been a surprising consistency in terms of how well they imitate their influences, but given how similar their debut album "When It Rains" sounds to the style Touché Amoré brought with "Parting The Sea Between The Brightness And Me", it sounds almost comical in comparison given its far weaker lyrical output.

But let's return to that in a bit. Sonically, the band relies on a note-by-note match to Touché Amoré for the most part, with a couple of other songs leaning heavily on the more rhythmic spoken-word style of La Dispute. In practice, it means distorted guitar melodies with punk undertones that are essentially mixing together post-hardcore and screamo elements, and an emotionally-charged vocalist, whose howls often approach screamo but stay decipherable and relatively clean throughout. Basically, imagine Touché Amoré's classic "~ (Tilde)", and you've arrived at Vacant's sound on "When It Rains"...not exactly a bad thing, huh? That's right. Instrumentally, the band's delivery is perhaps dime-a-dozen when it comes to 'wave' inspired screamo bands, but it feels honest and natural rather than fake or contrived.

Lyrically, however, the band are approach unintentional satire on emotionally charged hardcore/screamo as a genre. Consider this excerpt from "Bottled Up", for instance:

"I made another promise to myself one which I know I will never keep. My words are dripping with conviction. It's too bad that I forget them, every time I go to sleep. [...] Can I have another sip of your scotch dad? Can I have another sip of your scotch dad? Can I?"

When you combine these words with the oddly slow delivery, the song ends up sounding hilariously like a joke on the genre, which I assure you isn't the intention behind it. Similar patterns of either strange lyrical arrangements or flat-out cliché lines are scattered everywhere throughout "When It Rains", making it impossible to take seriously, especially because it sounds nearly identical to Touché Amoré, only in a C-sides version. Harsh words aside, the idea here is good. The lyrical content just needs much work and the self-production is too flat and vocal-driven at this point in time. Otherwise not half-bad.

Download: Alone With It All, No Direction, Bottled Up
For the fans of: Touché Amoré, My Fictions, Xerxes, Cavalcades, La Dispute
Listen: Facebook

Release date 26.03.2015

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