River City High
Catchy, poppy emo. Years ago, this might have been called guitar rock, but it probably would have had a vocalist who had a sweeter sounding voice than this hoarse shouting. Look, this sounds perfect, almost as if it were manufactured, machined, calculated. I'm listening to this disc and still tapping my toes, still enjoying it, but there's just something cold and lifeless about it, like every last bit of it was planned and choreographed, a rock 'n' roll / emo equivalent of a boy band. I can't shake the feeling that this is all a façade made of little more than newspaper and paste, fit only for people who think that music is a series of stage gestures with guitars to evoke an image of rock and elicit feelings of primal satisfaction that exist only when the real thing exists. And, as great as this sounds, that's really what it boils down to for me. I'll take the fuck ups and the mistakes, the takes that should have been done over. When something is this polished, it's usually because someone's trying to sell me something that I don't want and, more importantly, that I simply don't need.
This album would have proved the points I made with RCH's "Forgets Their Manners" EP if it were even a fraction as polished as that effort. Unfortunately, it's generic, showing little of the professionalism and calculation that the aforementioned EP did. Hooks? Sure, there are hooks. Even a tackle box has a few good ones. Melodies? You can get those from soda commercials. This record is enough to make me glad that I've never seen this band live.