Settle - At Home We Are Tourists
Release Date: May 19, 2009
Record Label: Epitaph Records
There are two simultaneous sentiments on Settleís At Home We Are Tourists. The first, the bandís core appeal, is the young energy driven from an album riddled with spazzy, big blow melodies. Frantic and three energy drinks down, the bandís Epitaph debut does just about everything except get boring. For that, we cheer. For that and for operating electronic melodies akin to Q and Not U. At the same time, with the synth hitting just as hard as their fuzzy, distorted guitar friends and every riff amped and deliberate, thereís a point during At Home when eyes bug and earbuds start to melt. Iím still not sure if this is good or bad.
Almost immediately with second track "Naked At A Family Function", the band shows their trick for crucial and smart choruses and hooks, and this doesnít wane for the rest of At Home. Waning is for a band thatís the exact opposite of Settle. Other tracks are better than others, obviously, but every song (except one: campy acoustic whistler "Sunday, Morning After") works a frenzy, somehow even the sluggish ender "Into The Mind of Those Who Commit Desperate Acts While Under The Influence of Others". The problem isnít a lack of musical prowess Ė itís too much prowess. Aggressive and toeing the line of over-saturation, Settle are chucking so many eggs at the basket that it becomes a strain to capture it all. Somewhere in the yolky mess, there is structured guitar pop, but the intensity of it all is the albumís central driving factor, and frankly, itís overwhelming.
But then again, when did I decide that aggression and frenzy were too much? When did I become such a pussy? As each track self-combusts into its own thrash of dancing indie rock and emo-tinged alternative of the early 2000ís, the bite is cutting-edge and, yet, still familiar to Clarity-era JEW, Brand New or Weezer (see: "Rite of Passage", "Affinity for My Hometown" and ďKick. Win!"). Singer Nick Rose is ordinary in an overstocked whine-croon (and sometimes howl), but he becomes a comfort source during At Homeís more erratic and/or lyrically bright moments. Itís often hard to make out what Rose is saying over the wailing keyboard embellishments, yet there are a handful of charismatic one-liners. "Affinity for My Hometown" ends its homage to the perils of Easton, PA doom with "when I die/just bury me in the backyard". "Murder" - a love song - sings "at night we'd walk under the trees/because we'd joke about being burnt by the moon."
Indie cred producer Adam Lasus give Settle a polished album thatís loose, bouncy and gracefully far from standard pop slick. If it werenít for the cohesiveness of production value and tone, At Home would have lost itself in its own care for letting notes fly like untamed windmills. I daresay, for the next Settle release, the band should house-train their structures. Theyíve got a mind for clever melody and meaningful words, but as of now, itís just close enough to too much.
Adam Lasus attaching his name to this speaks volumes.
Also, the RIYL is hard to pass up.
Lastly, another near-flawless review from Julia Conny Pareles.
Aww, thanks GR. Yeah, it's something to definitely check out, at the very least. I could see this band doing awesome awesome things. Using the word potential is so loaded these days, but Settle has tons of it.