Decembers January – Adventures in Rhoton

Decembers January
Adventures in Rhoton

On their second release and first full-length, this Wisconsin band clearly has found their sound. While the influences are pretty familiar – ranging from the more hardcore sounds of bands like Fugazi to the more emo style of bands like Mineral and Cross My Heart – Decembers January have their own unique sound. It’s somewhere between all those genres us music critics like to throw out there, a little of everything all tied together with emotion and energy.
The band obviously likes using complex time signatures, and that continues on these songs, adding a more unique and powerful flare to the songs. With some really unique vocals from singer/guitarist Andy Wise that seem almost operatic at times (although he doesn’t hit too many highs or lows, just a lot in between), and intense power chords from Wise and guitarist Kyle Straveler, these are great songs that never lack in energy and intensity.
Probably my favorite track is the opener, “Thallium.” With an intense chorus that just begs you to sing along at full volume, this track just rocks, plain and simple. There’s something of a punk influence to “Eel Firefly,” although it’s not a punk song. The vocals flow with the up tempo and power chords quite well. On “New Defense,” the band shows they can quiet down a bit and play a more lofty ballad with occasional moments of soaring guitars and vocals, and “Repairs Without Air” has a similar sound, if anything more layered and pretty, reminding me of Camden’s latest album.
“Open Shutter” picks up the pace again with some fantastic, almost march-like drumming that contrasts nicely with more melodic guitar, and “My Voracious Friends” has some great chugging guitar and probably the best vocals on the whole album. The band sneaks some horns into “Singapore Sling,” a lovely instrumental track that really showcases the sheer talent of the band. (The lyrics in the booklet for this instrumental are the recipe to making said drink.) “Ariel’s Revenge” ups the tempo again, a faster rocker that has more emotional quality, with lyrics like “Every part of humanism and every part of you can’t always be believed yet we both are trying to taste the same thing.” It provides a nice book-end to the opener “Thallium,” with “An End to Rhoton” finishing the album on a nice, powerful yet flowing rock instrumental.
I really like Decembers January. Maybe it’s the unique vocal style that helps set their music apart, or maybe it’s just the fact that they’re all such impressive musicians. Either way, this is powerful post-hardcore rock, and I always love that. High on energy and originality, Adventures in Rhoton is a damn impressive debut full-length.