Noise Ratchet – Till We Have Faces

Noise Ratchet
Till We Have Faces

Said, got damn! There sure are a lot of “emo” bands, aren’t there? East Coast, West Coast, Canada – shit, even my mom’s in an emo band. She’s usually on keyboards for her emo band, but during the non-keyboard songs, she’ll usually play the tambourine or sing backup vocals. Her favorite emo band, as of now, is Jimmy Eat World. We often get into arguments whether the bands she listens to are truly “emo” – I explain the influence of Sunny Day Real Estate and Fugazi; she reminds me of the heartfelt lyrics of “Out of Reach” by the Get Up Kids. I explain the homogenization of the term that has infiltrated rock radio and the video music world; she reminds me of her online profile that boasts a healthy alphabetical collection of emo bands and a John Lennon quote. I explain to her how hackneyed their sounds are and that listening to an emo band is like listening to Ben Stein teach you how to plant perennials; she reminds me that a good slap on the fact still hurts as much as it did growing up.
This album is the perfect sonic rejoinder to the question: “What the fuck is emo?” It has all the emo essentials: “emotional” vocalist, chiming guitars, distorted guitars, tasteful harmonies, roaring choruses, crushing bridges, one song with piano, and a pounding rhythm section that would put your sex-obsessed neighbors to shame. The quintet proffers 12 power-emo songs that will either play in a car full of 14-18 year-old emo kids riding back from a Dashboard Confessional concert or in a pretentious music class studying the effects of trends on popular music.
For you kids riding back from the concert full of kids shouting “I wish I was anywhere with anyone, making out,” Till We Have Faces will provide the perfect soundtrack for driving down the long highway. Pump up your car stereo kids, this shit really rocks. As with most emo bands, the louder the music, the better the music. Songs like “Game Over” and “The Train” are indisputable anthems for your generation of shaggy-haired, all-black-wearing hipsters, a generation sick of the target marketed pop on MTV. Well kiddos, break out your “*N’Suck” and “Britney’s Pears” shirts: this music is 2000 light years away from the pop you love-to-hate. It will have you all air drumming and singing your pubescent hearts out; it will have you rolling down your windows and shaping your hands into devil horns and tight fists. It will have you creating your own harmonies to the choruses. It will essentially have you by the external sac of skin, at least until the band makes a video and forays onto MTV.
For the rest of us, the music is nothing more than a slightly augmented/bastardized version of Jimmy Eat World; the music dawdles in its own dalliance. Almost every element in the music points, nods, suggests, echoes, insinuates, hints, and references JEW, even the slicker-than-Jesse Katsopolis’-hair production. In fact, everything here is as squeaky clean as Danny Tanner’s dishes. And if you look closely at the photo on the back cover and squint your eyes just so, one of the guys even looks like DJ Tanner’s boyfriend, Steve (voice for Disney’s Aladdin).
Truthfully, I’m probably the last person who should be reviewing Noise Ratchet’s Till We Have Faces. My diatribes may seem a little unjustified, but one listen to the album and, if you’re like me, you’ll understand my misanthropic disposition. It’s not like I think the album is badl; in fact, I enjoyed a couple of songs, especially “A Way to the Heart.” And with the right marketing and product placement, there’s no doubt in my mind that this band could garner a strong and dedicated following. Thing is, I could say the same exact thing about 50 other up-and-coming emo bands (including my mom’s), which will ultimately lead to a contest of who looks the best on camera. But in the end, it’s the music that counts, and if you’re seeking a dulcet album with consonance, harmonies, and emotion to spare, this album is for you. If not, this frumpy flagging flimflam will not only flounder, but it will fester in its own falderal while you flip through Friday’s funny section. Does anyone else see the irony in the word “grandiloquent?”