I’m a bit of a shut-in these days, in my late 20’s. I’m not old by any stretch, but not a spring chicken either. I might stay up until 2am looking at kooky stuff on Reddit, but get me out and about on the turps for the same amount of time and I’m on the verge of death by the time the morning joggers are giving you the stink-eye as you shamble, head-down, trying your best to contain the sway in the taxi rank.
Which is probably why I had a hard time keeping up with the sauce We Have The Moon so lavishly cakes onto their heavily electronic ‘dancey’ hardcore romp. I feel like ‘Old Man Yells at Cloud’ when envisioning seeing these guys live, stuck between barely-18-year-olds three quarters my height who are still brandishing facial acne, wondering how out of place and grizzled I look even though I haven’t hit dirty 30 yet.
Enough about my grizzled cynicism and mismatched perception of chronological age, hey? Let’s crack open a bottle and party.
First track Y.D.S.U.S.’s opening synths and leads are reminiscent of exactly something you’d hear washing out of the back entrance of a warehouse rave; dyed hair, combat boots, spiked collar, lollipop stuck in your mouth and all. Gang shout ‘heys!’ and trilling electro hi-hats straight out of Nelly town.
Till The Morning Comes does what it says on the tin – a synth-infected, breakdown-heavy number with the gruffer vocals lending a serious nod to Dustin Kensrue of Thrice, particularly. This stuff is so safe, I could drop a nuclear bomb on it from 12 feet and leave everything but this track frazzled in its’ wake. More gang chants and an almost deathcore-style growl for a few bars interrupt this train of thought, before the warm house-party-friendly house synths come waltzing back in. This stuff was purpose built for partying – not sitting gloomily by the lake pretending to be brooding and deep whilst reading Edgar Allan Poe and smoking cheap cigarettes.
With an opener that sounds like every anime music video I’ve ever heard, Killer Party swaggers into the room with about twenty people you weren’t sure you invited, the melodic interplay between chants and very post-hardcore clean vocals playing out like someone dusted off the spirits collection in the top cupboard.
Definitely Not A Serenade starts with more gang chants, which sound more distant than that muffled hallway conversation you’re keen to eavesdrop on. The band kicks in a little bit more riffage in this one, with a few interesting trills here and there, and then we hit auto-tune vocal territory. I’m wishing I had a few beers lying around so I could actually get into this; maybe start a fight-mosh between me, myself and I in the living room. Alas, I’m not, and I’m left feeling a bit bereft of substance here.
The Score 0-3 is, as you guessed it, a pre-gamer. Both the guitar and synth take a cool little detour, harmonising in a bouncy way that works in contrast to the constant power-chord-wall of the past few songs. The clean vocals serve to glue these sections to the now-mandatory gang chants. I could see these guys really ramping up the party big time on a support slot for Enter Shikari and turning the room into a sea of Vodka Cruisers, beer and ninja pit moves.
The 2:00am Pasta Break definitely signifies we are at a house party, if you hadn’t really had that sink in just yet. No one smashes pasta at 2am on the silly sauce if kebabs are an option, right? This is a short throwaway electro interlude.
Unreasonable comes charging back as the album gets a second wind, featuring a more jagged riff which serves to break up the techno side serving nicely. There’s an awesome little Comeback Kid style hardcore riff build-up that enters and…. Oh, it’s gone. Hmm… I was looking forward to that meatier section. I think the band are deliberately holding back from this side in order to market themselves accordingly. But amongst all the ‘dancey’ nice stuff, I hear the potential of some ripping hardcore to bolster the party. Like your bravado when your sloshed mate dares you to down that drink in one go, they’d be well served to bring that edge out more.
This is What Love Told Me The Most has a real NOFX ‘woah-oh’ kind of start before driving back into that heavier territory I was just begging for. Awesome; that’s more like it! Now even the obligatory auto-tune chorus and gang vocals don’t feel as formulaic. Which is ironic cause the rough-to-clean trade-off is almost reflexive in the hardcore scene.
Lovely Lights actually has a more stripped-back feel in the verses, the electronic synth-wash overload paring back to mere bleeping whilst the analogue instruments and screamer come out for a play before the requisite chorus. Which sort of bleeds back into the next track, A Ghost Friend of Mine, which solemnly dwells on grief and loss through some more subdued albeit upbeat electronic and post-hardcore vibes. Kind of that point at a party when someone digs up a photo of an ex or a friend that died and, crusty with lack of sleep, alcohol and near-exhaustion, sentiment overtakes excitement and you start to crack. Ironically, given the happy go lucky persona of the rest of the album, this is actually a really strong track
In any case, on that bombshell the guests have all left or passed out, the place is berserk, but you’ll deal with that in the morning. Bedtime offers the nice, inviting and healing embrace of the pillow, the cool touch of that glass of water which may or may not come back up, abruptly trailing off. Phew. That was a night and a half.
I’m going to be honest, this was a hard one to stick through. Context is everything, right? Chuck this on at a house party and people will (unless it’s a bunch of black metal purists staring forlornly at posters of Robert Smith) inevitably start people getting bouncy. Throw it on the commute to work and you might get yourself amped up for an otherwise droll day of data entry or sales reports. Stick it in your earphones during a sunset walk or sitting at home on the couch, and you may damn well throw your smartphone off somewhere.
Buried underneath safe house-party vibes lies some potential for these guys to harness their hardcore influence and songwriting chops to make some numbers that would make serious waves.
Alternatively, maybe I’m just getting old.
Get your copy of ‘Till The Morning Comes’ here.