For awhile, you’ve seen us here at Mind Equals Blown giving you the scoop on new music, but more recently we’ve been diving into the discographies of artists we love including The Wonder Years and Coheed and Cambria to reflect on every work they’ve done. Starting today, we’ll be spending 2014 expanding our retro reviews section with albums celebrating ten years in existence. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments!
It’s hard to believe that 2004 was ten years ago (not least because I was in 8th Grade), and that Emery’s debut album The Weak’s End is now a decade into its tenure. January 15, 2004 was the day and the world has been richer for it ever since. In that time, Emery have released another couple of great albums (The Question and We Do What We Want), a so-so album (I’m Only A Man) and arguably the greatest post-hardcore record of all time (In Shallow Seas We Sail), and yet there’s just something about TWE that keeps us all coming back for more.
The first song on an album is supposed to demand your attention, but very few go so far as to literally scream “ARE YOU LISTENING?!” at their audience. After this monologue, “Walls” softens and becomes one of the catchiest and most intelligently written verses ever conceived by humans, before finishing with a brilliant dialogue climax, as frontman Toby Morrell and keyboardist/screamer Josh Head’s vocals intertwine like vines on a garden shed. Then “Ponytail Parades” kicks in and you realise that Emery had their style figured out from the very beginning. The songs are all juicy bait dangling in front of the listener on hooks that dig into your very skeleton, and “Ponytail Parades” continues a world-class standard.
The Weak’s End is all highlights. “Fractions” is heart-wrenching ode to a damaging relationship and the feelings that linger. “Under Serious Attack” is simply brilliant, and “The Secret” is the perfect way to wrap up the strongest of debuts. Emery have always been very honest and open with their music, and the lyrical content is the strongest part of their work. The songs are given so much more meaning because of the raw, honest emotion that went into them. Emery know life is a rollercoaster, and TWE brings you the dizzying highs, crushing lows and everything in between that every person experiences on a daily basis.
Emery’s signature style is also on display in its full, unrefined glory. Toby Morrell and Devin Shelton’s cleans weave seamlessly, creating narratives, dialogues – imparting that intense honesty and openness that is so endearing about their music. Matt Carter’s perfectly simple riffs that are catchier than malaria, Josh Head’s signature screams that, again, blend perfectly with Morrell’s own harsh vocals, and his synth work is amazing. The rhythm section of Joel Green and Seth Studley on bass and drums respectively are tighter than Tupperware and they know their job is very much a backseat role. Emery’s music is and always has been vocally driven, and they do everything right in respect to the music.
At the end of the day, In Shallow Seas We Sail was a better album than The Weak’s End, but, again, ISSWS is probably the greatest post-hardcore album of all time, so we won’t hold that against it. And besides, The Weak’s End was both inB4 and people are still talking about it ten years later. Credit where credit’s due, and all that.