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How do you measure the abilities of a band? Do you base your decision on their capability to replicate the recorded sound live, or to offer up a new version of that material in a live setting that is as worthy as the recorded one? Or do you base it on the musical growth between their releases, focusing on the maturity of their writing and if they have come up with something different/improved on their last record?
If we are to focus on the latter, then the abilities of Pianos Become The Teeth, a band who have made no secret of the fact that they are consumed by their musical development, are outstanding. The group’s latest record ‘The Lack Long After,’ the follow up to 2009’s ‘Old Pride,’ only consists of eight tracks, but there isn’t a single moment in any of them, that isn’t worth hearing.
Whilst the band sits comfortably in amongst the modern day versions of post-hardcore which include the likes of La Dispute and Touché Amore, they also infuse an older style, found in the early screamo days of The Used and Blindside.
Opening track I’ll Be Damned features guitar work taken straight from these “older” examples with the new age, distressed vocal style, that sits somewhere between a sing, a scream and spoken word, ripping through the music. Honesty is the key with the poetry found in this genre, if you don’t sound sincere then you won’t capture the audience in the way that the good ones do. Kyle Durfey is capable of doing this, especially in the chorus sections of Good Times, the powerful screams build with the music as he backs off slightly to say “I guess that’s life” with subtle hints of melody.
The best thing about music like this is that the instruments don’t necessarily need to be heavy for things to sound heavy. Such Confidence begins slow and heartfelt, with the guitar lines telling more of a story than the vocals, as the song slowly builds into one of the finest performances drummer David Haik has ever laid down.
Liquid Courage is sparse yet effective whilst Spine is frantic, with one of the darker vocal topics/performances on the record. The album ends with one of the standout tracks, I’ll Get By, which may be one of the softer tracks, but is easily one of the most emotional and powerful.
The refined style of ‘The Lack Long After’ is a huge leap forward in maturity from its raw toned predecessor, ‘Old Pride.’ Judging by the quality of the records produced by this new wave of post-hardcore bands, the future of music may not be as dim as the radio would have us believe.
1. I’ll Be Damned
2. Good Times
3. Shared Bodies
4. Such Confidence
5. Liquid Courage
8. I’ll Get By