Yours For Mine - Dear Children
Record Label: Blood & Ink Records
Release Date: January 13, 2009
It's hard to get famous. Every band knows this, and most of said bands don't deserve said fame.
This is not one of those bands.
Despite only having been together for four years, Virginia's Yours For Mine has all the confidence and cohesion of a much more experienced group. The fruits of their labor shines on their self-released debut Dear Children, a record the likes of which we haven't seen recently.
Kicking things off with a whisper that builds into a bang, the Introduction is electronic experimentation of the highest caliber – the band knows how to keep it brief while still getting their point (in this case, “We Need You Here”) across in an interesting fashion. Reminiscent of The Earth Sings Mi Fa Mi, it segues right into “Absence In Elegance,” which manages to blend hard-hitting, sensible post-hardcore with more experimental instrumentation that stretches the limits of what you thought the genre could do without pushing them too far. The song borders on genius when it breaks for a sax solo three-quarters of the way through the song. Whether or not that's your particular cup of tea, it's more original and engaging than anything Thursday's done in years.
“My Tomorrow” continues this dichotomy of sensibility and experimentation with both balladry and hardcore emotion that drips out of the speakers and onto the floor. Singer Johnathan Woods’ scream is so raw and fraught with emotion that you can't help but feel the guy. The power in his voice makes Eron Bucharelli look like William Shatner - as he puts it, “If you can't feel this in your bones, I'm not going deep enough.” He's going plenty deep enough. It's simultaneously chilling and empowering how he's summing up the modern identity crisis: In a world where there is no real zeitgeist, it's great to see someone addressing the fact that we're all just looking for seemingly nonexistent answers to our lives.
The title track is an interesting interlude, combining a good level of ambient spaceclash with plain ol' layered narration. This leads right into the album's epic, “Call Me Distant.” It's not only the most experimental song on the album, but far and away the best. Its chants readily encourage listener participation, and its middle section recalls Kid A, which is always a compliment.
The musicianship is great – this is an incredibly cohesive group, and throughout the album they display both their proficiency and creativity. Woods’ voice isn't as developed as, say, Anthony Green's, nor is it as silky smooth as someone like Craig Owens', but it’s in his masterful vocal delivery that he sells his emotional fervor. His vocals aren't for everyone. They're raw and at times raspy, but they're nonetheless for those who have heart. Those who give this band a chance will be surprised in how they're rewarded.
The only major gripe I have with Dear Children is the inconsistencies in lyrics. They've left the most room for improvement in poorly-constructed fragments that don't really work. Some lines, such as “Depart for the front lines with lies in our eyes” work well, evoking imagery and passion. But lines like “Let's talk about this lack of relationship of who we are and what should we be?” and “You and me are like Halloween” are so painfully cringe-inducing that they distract from the music. The band's Christian agenda is certainly noticed, but doesn't distract from the music. The closing track is dedicated entirely to this message, ending the album with “We'll stay here / Oh Holy Spirit / We'll stay right here.” However, all in all, this is definitely an exciting album and an incredible debut. We can only wait to see where they go from here.