The puzzle pieces are all the same here. Screams to cleans, backed by synths and breakdowns galore. Only this time the outcome is better. Stronger. Woe, Is Me takes every ingredient its competitors use and streamline them, making Number[s] a flashy and fun record.
The band is anything but subtle; the album packs a hardcore onslaught in 10 tightly-woven songs, each never exceeding four minutes. The short track-lengths make for ringtone-esque tracks but keep the pace right where it should be. Yeah, the songs can run together, but Number[s] isn’t meant to redefine and revolutionize; it’s here to make audiences run rampant. Crowds will move in chaotic fashion when tracks like “Hell Or High Water” and “I.” are displayed live.
Take “[&]Delinquents” for example. Clocking in at 2:56, listeners get a highlight reel’s worth of material rather than a six-minute dragged out song. Michael Bohn’s screams may not be the most unique, but it’s his delivery combined with perfectly-crafted programming that provide the backdrop for Tyler Carter’s introduction to the world (which I’ll gush about later). “Keep Your Enemies Close” hits in similar fashion, with non-stop madness combined with catchy hooks.
Back to Carter. Good God. The man can sing. He positively makes this album. Drummer/programmer Austin Thornton (ex-Of Machines) may be the mastermind of the group, but Carter is certainly the star player. His clean vocals set off his bandmates’ contributions and elevate this group far ahead of its peers. From his first line in “[&] Delinquets” to his vocal battle with Jonny Craig (Dance Gavin Dance/Emarosa) in “Desolate,” he demands the spotlight and is relentless with it. The Jonny comparisons are inevitable, as the ginger is the gold standard of post-hardcore vocals; even their Twitter accounts are similar (@JonnyCraig4L and @TylerCarter4L). Fortunately for Carter’s sake, the comparisons are rightfully deserved. Fantastic talent boosted by a great sense of melody will make Tyler a mainstay in the scene for years to come.
Though the record falls short of even 30 minutes, a tad more variety would be nice. Most of the diversity has to come from Carter’s melodies because every track is musically so similar. “For The Likes Of You” serves the same function as “Viola Lion” from Isles & Glaciers‘ record, offering a slight (very slight, to be fair) change of pace from the rest of the album. Closer “Desolate [The Conductor]” hands the reigns over to Carter and guest vocalist Craig completely with minimalist backing music that wraps things up nicely. The biggest flaw of Number[s] is it fails to feel like a full-length record as much as a 10-track EP.
Anyone who appreciates the scene will dive into Woe, Is Me quickly. It’s everything you’ve ever asked for (and complained about) in post-hardcore. Formulate your own opinion via a full album stream here and check out a few select tracks on the band’s MySpace.