Breathe Carolina - It's Classy, Not Classic
Record Label: Rise Records
Release Date: September 16, 2008
In a hard-to-respect genre, Breathe Carolina really dug their own grave with their over-synthesized techno-pop. When you hear about music like this, you can react one or two ways: you could go with it and be curious or you could totally oppose it. Amongst the more than cluttered music scene now-a-days, bands like Breathe Carolina are innocent until proven guilty, and this album unexpectedly sets the duo apart from their genre-mates.
In reference to the name of the album, this is by no means classic. As for classy, the jury is still out. Scenesters with leopard hair extensions and blindingly colorful "outfits" aren't normally considered classy, but one could definitely argue that the album doesn't necessarily reflect those who would usually be caught with it on their iPods. "The Introduction" is the slowest and arguably the sweetest song here, with uncharacteristically simple and plain synths, holding lines like "And please stick around / I'll make you fall in love with me." It starts off with robotic vocals (or maybe they're auto-tuned to the absolute max; I can't even tell), which calmly flow into David Schmitt's smooth harmonizing. The song doesn't fit well with the rest of the album, but does flow well into the next song, "No Vacancy." The forced screams seem out of place, but if you think about it, there isn't much else that you could put in those places. It's a rather awkward song to say the least, and isn't much of a "put on the dance party mix CD" song because of the calm and soothing tone. Unoriginal lyrics seem sweet and to the point, such as "I'll be there / Not far behind," finish off this skippable track, and lead directly into the very techno-ish and danceable "Show Me Yours." The beat seems like something you've heard before, but you can't put your finger on it, and the chorus is a prime example of what sets this band apart from other bands who are normally compared to them.
The next three tracks go off into a land that we've all been to. "The Birds and the Bees" is repeatedly noted as the best track on the CD, but I don't see it. To me, this song sounds exactly like every other dance song seen on MySpace, with more awkward and mediocre screams thrown in for flavor. "Classified" and "Gossip" seem like alter-egos of each other, and painfully generic at best. "That's Classy" isn't worth my time to write about, and "Diamonds" seems like a duplicate of every song before it, thrown into one giant clusterfuck of awkward beats, out-of place screams, and choppy vocals. The chorus somewhat saves the rest of the song, but only by a little bit.
"You Wish (Interlude)" has the potential to be the best song on the album. As a minute and a half long instrumental, it is by far one of the catchiest beats I've heard in quite some time. The reason why I say it has "potential" is because it goes by so damn fast. I force myself to press repeat on my iTunes so I soak in the synthetic genius of this song, and to get a quick dance in. I put it on repeat for two reasons: one, it's too short and needs to be played over and over to get a nice effect, and two, the next song, "Lovely," totally kills it's thunder from the first second of the song. It sounds like it could have been made by any teenager with Garage Band on their Macbook. "Put Some Clothes On" is the last track, and isn't the best way to end off an album that you want people to take seriously.
It would be much too cliche to say this band has an identity crisis, but they do need to do something about were they are heading. The extreme awkwardness for some tracks are evened out by some decent songs, but that doesn't make this a great album. Hell, my favorite song by this band is their Hannah Montana cover from the Punk Goes Pop album, which says that the songs don't leave the best impact. This album is fairly impressive for what it is, but the genre is just hard to get used to in todays music scene, and unfortunately for Breathe Carolina, it will be hard for them to get accepted by a wide range of music fans.