“The opinions of Jason Novak are not necessarily the opinion of This Is Not a Scene.”
OK. Now that that’s out of the way…
Maybe I’m old. Maybe, in my old age, I’m becoming a curmudgeon, but you know what I don’t “get”? Screamo. I mean, what is that? I bring this up because, for the most part, I would put A Silent Escape in the Screamo bin. Because it’s screamo, I think I need to explain a few things about the genre before I move on the the review proper.
So yeah. Screamo. I understand the kind of pop-rock thing. I totally understand getting loud and screaming with that sort of terror scream where it’s hard to actually make out the lyrics, but the emotion is there. What I don’t understand is the combination of these things. Like, if you’re going to play it loud, just play it loud. Forgo the pop-rock sensibility and just rock faces off. It seems to me, and mind you, I’m not a fan of the genre, that screamo is a musical style where bands who are not, in the parlance of our times, “brutal,” can pretend to be brutal. But it feels like an act.
Now, that said, “A Silent Escape,” the band’s eponymous debut, certainly isn’t a bad album. In fact,a couple of tracks, like “Can’t Be The End,” had me nodding at the melodic chorus, saying “Yeah, this is pretty good.” The next track, “Bullets,” was in full-on screamo mode, but the fast drumming and eerie, high-pitched guitar riff made it all seem heavier than a lot of other bands of the genre. I also appreciated the fast guitar riffage on “My Habit,’ and I am not easily impressed by that sort of thing.
At the same time, there was nothing on this album that had me checking to see when the band was playing a venue near me. This is the kind of thing where, if I weren’t reviewing it, I would have given it a single listen and probably forgotten about it. That may be my own personal bias against screamo, but it’s really not my thing. Then again, my idea of a good time is sitting around listening to The Mountain Goats or Belle & Sebastian, so your mileage may vary.
In conclusion, as someone who isn’t a huge fan of screamo (or even a casual listener), I can say that A Silent Escape’s debut is good. It’s not great, it’s not groundreaking, but it doesn’t sound exactly like many of the other bands of this homogeneous genre.