Garrison – A Mile in Cold Water

A Mile in Cold Water

Garrison released an EP on Revelation last year that got the band lumped in with the emo bands, sounding similar to the more high-powered emo of Cross My Heart and Penfold. It was good stuff, but it wasn’t especially unique. On their first full-length, Garrison has developed more of its own sound, coming across at times almost hardcore and at times slower and more indie. The closest comparison I can draw is to Piebald without the off-kilter wit and with a higher energy quotient.
It’s probably the vocals that get this band lumped with emo the most. They have that plaintive, slightly off-key tone, and they’re always just between singing and screaming out. The songs themselves are high-powered, with driving rhythm and guitars, at times getting closer to the hardcore style than many similar bands. It makes for a great album of high-powered post-hardcore rock.
From the start of “After the Fight,” you know this is going to be high-powered rock. The drums seem to set the stage for most of these songs, providing a high-powered rhythm overlaid with driving guitars. This song definitely rocks, especially the almost-screamed chorus. “Selective Hearing Loss” is much more melodic and indie-rock sounding, but it still packs a punch in the chorus. “Is That a Threat?” has a very Piebald rock feel, with a kind of up-down flow. “Squirrel Bait” comes across as most similar to the band’s EP, and it has an intensity that’s impressive as well as some great guitar work. And “Our Mild Scoliosis” definitely is the most melodic emo track here. You get a dose of the band’s hardcore side at the end of “Always Be Closing,” which goes into a nice bass line to start the more melodic but musically-charged “Fuel.” This song is probably one of my favorites on the album, and by the end it shows the energy and passion this band can play with. “The Dumbest Angel” shows the high-end of the spectrum, going from screaming angrily to more mellow singing in the space of seconds, similar to Boy Sets Fire. “Favorite Goodbye Fuck” is a lengthy, more melodic rock song, running from the softer and more emo side to the more intense, barely restrained side, and driven by some powerful guitar.
So where do Garrison fit in? Probably still closest to the Cross My Heart style of emo, although they’re definitely leaning closer to Boy Sets Fire’s blend of emo-core. The new energy and power that infuses these songs helps Garrison set apart more than their last EP’s songs, and that’s nice to see. Although you still feel that this band has a way to mature, you have a nice set of some high-power, high-emotion songs here.