Late Night Desperate – Pictures Not So Perfect EP

Late Night Desperate
Pictures Not So Perfect EP

For years, it seems that the only albums I wanted to listen to were the ones that could be easily classifiable as emo. The deeply personal nature appealed to me, but so did the style of music, which could be pretty and melodic one moment and urgent and intense the next. But to be honest, other than a few of the emo mainstays, I have a hard time remembering the names of many of the bands whose albums I still have in my collection. It shows the fleeting nature of a genre in which many bands threw their hats.
Late Night Desperate are an emo band, to be sure. And while I’m not saying their music is forgettable, I have to honestly wonder how much staying power this very excellent EP will have in my collection. The band’s singer has a gorgeous, soft voice, not the whiney, breaking quality of many emo bands. The band uses bass and piano to accompany the traditional melodic guitarwork and intricate drumming. So they’re not just another Mineral/Cross My Heart wanna-be. More akin to the newer emo bands such as Casket Lottery or Breaking Pangaea, they still follow the emo framework to a tee.
The extremely slick “Left Behind” starts off the EP, beginning soft and melodic yet quickly picking up some urgency and intensity that really flows by the song’s end, reminding me very much of early Jimmy Eat World and Jejune. The piano work – reminiscent of Kilowatthours – is a beautiful addition to the startlingly good “Visions Of…”, and the impressive rhythm helps drive the dynamic “Violet.” Yet some of the other songs here, despite how tight and pristine the music is, sounds too much like some of the classic emo bands. “Pictures Not So Perfect” and “Farewell Skylines” sound like songs from the early Emo Diaries collections, perhaps songs by Brandtson or early Cross My Heart. The latter features the only moments of shouts on the release – some backing shouts that work nice while not be overpowering as many emo bands are wont to do. There’s more of the punky modern emo sound – a la later Jimmy Eat World or even New Found Glory – to the appropriately emo-titled “Home is Where the Heart Is.”
This review will undoubtedly sound mixed. I’m telling you now that Late Night Desperate is about as good an emo band as any I’ve ever heard. They’re tight, the instrumentation is immaculate, the singing is lovely, and they spice things up with piano and other flourishes. But the young band suffers from a condition that many young bands suffer from: they sound too much like their influences. This isn’t a crime when the result is an album as strong as this one, but this is only the band’s debut. I can’t wait to see where they go from here. Lead singer Mike England left the band after this recording, and I hope he can be adequately replaced, as his soft voice is one of the highlights here.