1). A lot Like Birds – Conversation Piece
The guys over at the ALLB camp must have been getting sick of all of the Dance Gavin Dance comparisons because simply put Conversation Piece is a rare feat that almost completely transcends labels and genre in so many ways. Some will want to call it Post Hardcore but god knows that is like calling The Number 12 looks like You’s albums simply mathcore, and in a way you are right but you are missing the bigger picture. There are so many different elements that makes this album stand out for me - the screamed and clean vocals are equally impressive and Kurt Travis really shines on this and adds an almost soulful/tormented touch to each of the songs on this recent effort. Each song is an intricate and meandering experience in and of itself . Conversation Piece is definitely a step up from Plan B which was good in its own right but at points it just felt like the band hadn’t come together yet, but none of that really matters does it? So if you want ferocity, you want complexity, you want a genuinely fun and enjoyable album, well ALLB definitely will leave you with messed up hair a frazzled mind a mouth agape and a sense of optimism about the state of music and genuine artistry. I honestly look forward to what these guys have planned in the future but to say I know what to expect on their next would make me a liar and a false prophet.
2). Pianos Become the Teeth – The Lack Long After
Pianos Become the Teeth’s debut album Old Pride was an exceptional melding of Screamo and Post Rock. I call it Post-Screamo, but enough with my excessive need to name things (see O.C.D ). The Lack Long After is not a huge departure from that formula and although not too much is done differently here but PBTT sure know how to balance intensity and immense almost soothing walls of sound. These guys definitely put plenty of passion into their music and you get a sense that in the vocals and the lyrics, this album is what chaos would sound like with a heart. After each song the quiet moments are where you get a true appreciation for the magnitude of the emotions displayed on each of the eight tracks on the album. Pianos are already a force to be reckoned with in the hardcore scene and they are showing no signs of a sophomore slump with their latest offering.
3). La Dispute – Wildlife
Thrice and Touche Amore I do apologize, but all in all La Dispute is on the third position on thislist simply because it felt like a progression. La Dispute has always been lauded for their non traditional musicianship, complex lyrics and vivid imagery within their songs. Wildlife is not a departure from this and in fact it feels more musical this time around and less like spoken word with an instrumental backdrop. Wildlife paints a beautiful painful portrait of our times with songs of lost lives, flagging cities, lost innocence and nostalgia for the past. It does all seem hopeless sometimes and La Dispute reminds us of that, but more importantly they remind us that storytelling often brings us coming back to listen to the stories again and again even if they are so hopelessly tragic.