The Escape Engine – Celebrity Role Model

The Escape Engine
Celebrity Role Model

There’s darkness and pain in the world. Things are not right, no matter how much we’d like to forget that and sugarcoat everything, The Escape Engine refuses to do so and meets their inner demons and emotional conflict head on with every screeching and lamenting track on Celebrity Role Model. It’s exploratory, vastly dark, and anguished.
There’s so much pain and anger in this album that it sounds like an exercise in vocalist Dom Lettera cleansing his tormented soul, while failing to be a mutually cathartic experience for the listener. There’s a lack of connection between listener and band, a gap not quite bridged. I guess it doesn’t help that The Escape Engine’s music also fails in that it doesn’t set them apart from an ever-growing horde of angry hardcore/screamo bands.
They fit the part well, especially Lettera. He’s got the screams and yelps and half-sung straining vocals down. His style and delivery is a bit like Rob Pennington of By The Grace of God/Black Widows, mixed with Nathan of Boy Sets Fire and a small small hint of Davey Havok of AFI. His lyrics read like poems ripped from notebooks, and they are just vague and non-specific enough to shroud their meanings in a bit of mystery.
It’s not that anything is inherently bad about this band or album, it’s just that it sounds familiar. So much so that I wanted to easily come up with a simple: “this bands sounds like ____.” But I’ve scratched my head over and over and this singular band eludes me. Even so, this all still sounds eerily familiar. So you, dear reader, will have to be satisfied just knowing that this band is a conglomerate of sorts. Escape Engine sound like many screamo and emotional hardcore groups. Names that come to mind are Boy Sets Fire without the politics, Thursday’s more rage-filled moments, At the Drive-In but more straightforward, or Fairweather.
While making this album must have provided an incredible emotional release for all the members of this group, unfortunately it is not a particularly accomplished effort. Songs like “The Curse (The Gift And..)” and “Thoughts on Courage” are the best cuts, but even they cannot save the Escape Engine from being just another fish in the pond.