A Hostage And The Meaning Of Life
Every three months or so your record collection needs a good kick in the knickers. If this doesn't happen, your rotation will become tired and formulated. It doesn't matter how many things are in your collection, if you get used to them, you won't want to go back to them, it'll all be just another process you'll be subjected to and when your music becomes a process, you've got problems. I was in a plateau and thankfully my jolt came from the rock heavens in the form of Brazil and this splendidly turbulent collection of songs.
So this is the long-sought-after prog-emo, you can now breathe kids, the wait for a new At the Drive-In is over -please, keep the arguments to yourself for this one. I'm not a big fan of prog-rock, sorry, I just can't get into it. Go ahead and think that ‘he's too slow,' or ‘he doesn't get it,' or whatever you want, it all boils down to appealing to my ears and a lot of prog bands just don't do it for me. The Mars Volta? Sorry. Coheed and Cambria? Can't do it (check out our reviews of both of these though by some of our more ‘enlightened' writers). I'll listen to these bands, but I won't jump out of my skin to go pick up any of their material. Brazil is different, their sound is even more layered than their rock-taco siblings. Guitars, keyboards, saxophones, cellos, drum machines, and bows on guitars all provide a thick tsunami of melodic energy.
I'll admit that I was a little apprehensive at first when I got this one in the mail, it came with an onslaught of raves and praise and that makes my opinion a more difficult pinnacle to reach. Now, one may think that a person in my position may appreciate a review or two from another site or magazine, but it spoils the experience for me, I have to try to forget everything that's been written and said or otherwise they'll influence my view of anything I review. Try it sometime and you'll see why my diverting from the subject of this review was so necessary.
So then, I put it in and give it a shot. I was a little thrown off by the vocals at first, like all bands of this ilk, they're not of the normal tone. Jonathon Newby's squirrelly crooning hits all of the highs it can as it shakes and wails through each of the album's twelve songs. The band's force can certainly be felt with any of the songs that you want to choose, take my immediate favorite, ‘Io'. The sonic force of this song exhibits every point that this band is being touted for. A random search through this album will sell you on this band easy -yes, it's that good.
Innovation isn't spared at all on this record and you'll see (hear, whatever) what I mean when you pick it up. Brazil has crafted their sound into something that for once is memorable, each song is an engaging listen in its own individual right and that's uncommon these days. After running this record through so many times I may have to give some of those other bands a second listen, my eyes are a little wider now. For once, believe the hype, this one's a keeper.
- Philip Del Costello | 2004-07-08
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