|Yesterdays Rising |
When We Speak, We Breathe EP
I do not believe in umbrella statements about the current atmosphere in the music world. There is no annual "Savior of Rock and Roll" because, in fact, rock does not need to be saved. There is no "Best Live Band on the Planet" because, as is obvious, any knucklehead brazen enough to throw this moniker around hunky-dory has most likely not traversed the many "smaller" establishments of this fine nation.
And, with no hint of irony, the Yesterdays Rising website introduces its titular subject with the words, "It happens maybe once or twice in a lifetime when a band of teenage musicians change the face of music." Grammar aberrations aside, it seems that if Yesterdays Rising were in the midst of changing music as we know it, they wouldn't go about such an endeavor with, at least, one of the worst songs I've heard this year ("Sidewalk Remnants"). At least Story of the Year can do back flips and Eisley is composed mostly of females in an otherwise male-dominated scene; When We Speak, We Breathe is a plodding muck of predictable chord progressions and atonal yelping that only exacerbates the needling pain of the lyrics. This is not a good thing.
Here's another blanket statement: acts like Yesterdays Rising are essentially pushing capital-M Music backwards. Every song on this five-song EP includes the basic, identical elements of sludgy riffs coupled with endless screeching, a brief arpeggiated bridge where the singer stops squealing, and one more rawk-us chorus before ending in some manner of white noise. Comets of Fire have added new resiliency to sludge. The Walkmen's Hamilton Leithauser bursts into glorious red when he masters a howl on stage. Even the Mars Volta can command a listener with an album's worth of predictable song structures. Yesterdays Rising can rise no higher than mediocrity.
Such is the kind of lyrical laziness that weighs down this already troubled record. When not spewing bad 1984 meta-crapola, frontman Brandon Bolmer's words fill the backend of the mix with scribbled black hearts and heavy-handed haikus. This is the stuff of freshman diaries. Even the EP's title blatantly reflects the utter inanity of this group's words.
The fact remains that every aspect of Yesterdays Rising's EP is a sloppy addendum to an already tired genre. We need new sounds and new perspectives, not another Warped Tour montage of three-note stage gymnasts. Maybe it's pretentious of me to expect harder work for my money, as—this can be said for YR—the bands are very good, and passionate, about what they do. Then again, and I'll throw trip-hop in here for good measure, maybe it's just time to move on.
- Dom Sinacola | 2004-08-26
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