Album Review: In Between – Locustvale

In Between Locastvale
Entry point: Locustvale
Personal favourite: Skin on Skin

From the opening lines this sounds promising. I’ve never heard of In Between before, two tracks into the album and I’m drawing comparisons to Rise Against and that pop influenced punk rock genre. Please note that the “pop influenced” is far from a bad thing in my opinion, more bands would do themselves favours by taking what they do and simplifying. If the song is good, it will show through.

The vocals are on point, harmonies are there when required and the screaming/yelling is tastefully done.

Production on the album is solid and unobtrusive, the songs are able to stand on their own legs without sounding manufactured or as so often happens with this style of music, it doesn’t sound like a garage demo that’s been released.

A note to any band who has the means, yet is still considering releasing less than studio quality productions: Don’t.

You’re only doing yourselves a disservice. If you don’t want to lose the raw energy of performing live or don’t want to be too polished, tell your engineer and producer that. If you’re a good live band, capturing that in the studio is easy. Listen to Rage Against the Machine‘s self titled album and tell me that it lacks energy or is too polished.

Locustvale is relatively two dimensional, but at 27 minutes that isn’t a concern – album is over before you know it.

The track Skin on Skin has a slightly slower more anthemic feel to it, which is where I get the Rise Against comparison. By slowing things down the vocals have more space to breathe and carry the track forward.

The track Locustvale (video above) is a decent summation of the rest of the album, the drums and bass drive it forward and leave plenty of space for the vocals to shine.

In my opinion this genre works best when the instruments drop in and out to add dynamics and contrast to the music, when albums are comprised of songs that aren’t all the same kick-snare-kick-kick-snare pattern at the same tempo.

Locustvale has the songs for those days of driving with the windows down on a hot summer road trip. Fans of this genre should find plenty on this album to enjoy.

– Murray

This review was originally posted by Murray Stace at his site  Relative Silence

EP Review: Koji – Fury

Koji Fury EP Cover

Koji first came to my attention after releasing split EPs with label mates Into It. Over It and La Dispute. Unlike those two bands, I wouldn’t consider Koji emo or pop-punk like Into It. Over It. Nor is he hardcore and intensely dramatic like La Dispute. But both splits just seemed to work as great marriages between the artists involved. Koji is hard to classify because he has a sound that is both versatile and recognisable. He’s a laid back singer/songwriter with a voice that sounds earnest and warm and songs that seems both simple and thoughtfully crafted, with subtly intimate details.

Fury departs from Koji’s acoustic past but still remains infectious. Musically, it’s more like straightforward indie rock, but manages to stay interesting without the using choirs and violins and other such instruments that Koji has used previously.

Title track ‘Fury’ doesn’t appear to contain a super catchy hook, but it refuses to leave my head. I’ve listened to it so many times over the past few days. Each time the song seems to get better, and each time it gets further entrenched in my mind. I swear my dreams have even had ‘Fury’ playing as the soundtrack for my subconscious adventures.

The following three songs continue with the earworm treatment as well. “Breaking And Broken” is ridiculously catchy with its rhyming choruses, as is ‘Everyday’, with its repeated lines and memorable guitar lines. Closing track ‘Question’ rounds off the EP perfectly by slowing down the pace but keeping up the mood.

There’s a fuzzy shoegaze vibe that permeates throughout the songs, whilst still remaining carefree and upbeat; a formula of Silversun Pickups and early Smashing Pumpkins with a bonus dose of happiness to offset depression.

Fury is thoroughly addictive, with each listen fueling the need for another. I just cannot get enough of it. Go have a listen and get hooked yourself.

Joseph James