If bands had siblings, Texas In July would be August Burns Red’s slightly less stellar younger brother. Though I risk getting lynched by readers for using the heavily cited comparison of “Texas in July = August Burns Red,” I can’t think of any other bands who are as alike as the duo. After all, the truth shall set you free (unless of course you’re Hayley Williams)*.
One noticeable point on their latest album One Reality is that Texas In July have grown tighter musically, with songs sounding much more cohesive without sounding watered down at all. Lead guitarist Christian Royer breaks up the monotony of the endless open strings with catchy lead lines on songs like “Dying World,” “Our Freedom,” and “One Reality.” The album showcases more positive, uplifting melodies without straying too far from their core sound, which ends up being a double-edged sword (more on that later).
Fans will be divided on vocalist Alex Good’s refined vocals. Good’s growls have gained a throaty edge and he completely dumps any and all of the higher pitched screams found on the band’s previous releases for a consistent holler. On the other hand, his updated vocals can be viewed as monotonous and lacking emotion. Whatever the reaction, at the very least, I’m sold.
Drummer Adam Gray shows great restraint over the course of the album, striving to complement the songs rather than to double pedal them into oblivion. He slays when he has to and sits back when needed, allowing the music to shine. With the album clocking in at about 34 minutes, the band wisely chooses to streamline the songs, giving fans the opportunity to digest the album as a whole. The album is well-paced too, with the track arrangement allowing for listeners to sit through the entire album without getting lethargic, which is a common ailment for metalcore fans, considering the lack of diversity in terms of its sound.
A prime example would be Texas In July’s decision to place an acoustic track, “May,” right smack in the middle of the album. Far from killing the album’s momentum, listeners are given a short respite from the growls and distorted guitars, which is refreshing and enjoyable. The track practically begs for a voice to sing along in accompaniment and every time I go back for another listen, I envision A Day To Remember’s Jeremy Mckinnon wailing along.
However to get back on topic, the band has progressed considerably as masters of their instruments but far less in expanding their creative horizons. The same things that make the album good are also those which make the album ordinary. Texas In July’s sound apes that of the better metalcore bands in the scene, such as August Burns Red, The Ghost Inside and even the less experienced but highly-rated Struc/tures.
Ignore the obvious similarities in Texas In July’s music and you’ll find in One Reality a solid, if unspectacular record. One Reality fails to live up to the proverbial adage of ‘re-inventing the wheel’ but if anything, it keeps the wheel rolling. Personally, I’d like to see them take a new approach towards their music, something along the lines of a reinvention. It has been done successfully (depending on who you ask) and has helped elongate the careers of other bands (Bring Me The Horizon, Architects). I want to hear something different from Texas In July in the future because it would be an absolute shame to see all this talent stick to one path when they should be carving one out themselves. I’m already looking forward to their NEXT release.
*Pointless Paramore reference