Born with a Tail – The Gravest Suspicion

Born with a Tail
The Gravest Suspicion

I had listened to this album multiple times before settling in with a cup of coffee to write this review (I try and spend a couple of weeks with a record before writing, since initial impressions can change), and, to be frank, I couldn’t remember a thing about it, so I threw it on for another listen. I immediately remembered a conversation I had with a friend about writing reviews: “It’s way easy to trash a record,” he said, “and I’d imagine it’s fairly easy to praise a great one. What the hell do you do with one that’s sorta ‘eh’?” What to do indeed…
Well, first the good. Born with a Tail provide the listener with a fairly original sounding aggressive indie-rawk sound which has some interesting twists. Tracks like “Balcony Collapse” and “Damsel in Distress” revolve around a few simple math-rock riffs which are blended with sudden change-ups and crescendos, creating a dramatic effect. There is an abundance of solid, non-showy guitar work on display, and the band in general sound as if the musicians are enjoying what they do. “Robert Elliot Burns,” for example, displays sudden shifts in tempo, noisy, loud guitars, little blasts of feedback, and a brisk tempo, expertly played.
Born with a Tail includes solid musicians, to be sure. What they seem to lack is songwriting ability. Taken one at a time, each track on this record is, well, good. Not great, or mind blowing, but good (there are a couple of exceptions, which I’ll get to later). As a whole, however, the record becomes a big blur. Each song displays a similar dynamic and sounds almost unfinished, as though there are supposed to be vocals in them. When vocals do appear on a few tracks, they are not very good. The singer semi-shouts his way through the tunes, and, while he can hold a note, a lot of it sounds flat (this may be the production, which is a bit thin and lacking in punch).
The bottom line here is that none of this music is very memorable. The moment the CD leaves the player, I almost forget what it sounds like. I certainly can’t remember any of the tunes, as they lack hooks. But lest you think this is a bad record, it’s not, and Born with a Tail display potential. Let’s see if the next release unleashes it.