This is one of those bands who put out very little music but you hear a lot about. There’s always a danger with these bands that expectations will get in the way. Fortunately for me, I had totally forgotten about them when I got around to listening to this record. (As usual, I have somehow found myself listening to their second record first. But of course.)
This is mathy post hardcore that isn’t so mathy so some people have described it as emo. (As an aside: I find the post hardcore/emo spectrum quite bizarre. Much like other similar genres, it seems like nobody can decide which is which. For me, I usually decide that, the less arty the music, the closer it is to emo than post hardcore. But I understand that not everyone feels this way.) It’s loud, it’s “emotional” (angry, passionate), it’s well played – too well played to be hardcore, as is usually the case with this stuff. For reference, it’s like a more consistently loud and ambitious Fugazi or a dirtier/grimier and generally louder At the Drive-In (who they beat to the punch by years in terms of their similar sounds). (About the ATDI comparison: ATDI were also better songwriters than these guys so the similarities are clear but there are also clear differences.)
This is absolutely my kind of music. There are only two things keeping me from ranking the record higher: the first is that Fugazi was sort of already doing this (albeit with not as much ambition) as were some other post hardcore bands, and a number of math rock bands were making similar music albeit with a little less aggression. the second is that I find the record a little bit too long at the moment, though I may not feel this way once I give it more time.
Anyway, this is right up my alley. I have to listen to the debut now because I’m sure I will like it too. Good stuff.