Rosaline. – A Constant North
Record Label: Eulogy Recordings
Release Date: July 21, 2009
I like the inclusion of the full stop at the end of the band’s name – it gives a nice sense of finality. The question is, however, can the band become the last word in an increasingly crowded and sound-alike genre? Well, the fact that their guitarist held the same position in the pre-Jonny Craig era Emarosa certainly gives them a certain pedigree, and this could prove useful in their aim. The album’s opener, “The New Utah,” is a throwback to this era in a reference to Emarosa’s old song of the name “Utah.” The song is somewhat similar in style to old Emarosa and makes for a good start to the album. However, it becomes apparent at this point that there is not much that this band offers to really make it stand out from anything else in this already-overcrowded genre. What’s more, there’s a needless section of auto-tuned vocals, coupled with the occasional group shout just to add to the cliché, not to mention the bass drops and breakdowns. The chorus, however, is strong and the band makes good, sparing use of synth sounds.
At the beginning of the second track, “Culture Wars,” the vocals are very smooth and relaxing, and the song continues to be good until a spoken word part (which is repeated later in the song) ruins it. There is no need for it, and it simply doesn’t sound good – the voices used don’t lend themselves to it and there’s nothing interesting said. Leave the boring stuff for the screamed lyrics that we can’t understand, okay? The following song, “Brother, We’ll Save You Now,” is pretty much white bread, though. There is nothing to like or dislike about it. There’s hardly anything distinguishing about it. It’s almost as if they wrote it during a dreamless sleep, but hey, you’ve got to extend it from an EP to an album somehow, don’t you? On the other hand, it’s well-layered.
From here we move onto the meat of the album, and things start to pick up. “Pin the Sea to the Wall” has a dreamy sound and a big chorus, representing a good direction for the band, something with which they might be able to differentiate themselves, or at least pick themselves up a bit. “In True Pisces Fashion” follows on, with the intro showing off the ambient side to their sound, while the rest of the song has a nice pop edge added to the blade of their more usual metal sound. Continuing this upward trend is “The White City,” which is powerful and well-arranged and contrasts well with track seven, the dreamier, more ambient “Polaris.”
The album closer, “Children of Latitude,” seems as if it is building up to something big, but that something never materializes. As a song in its own right, it is actually pretty good, but it is just mis-placed at the end of the album – in this position is it just anticlimactic and leaves you feeling as if you enjoyed the song less than you would have otherwise. If you’re listening to your library on shuffle, though, and hear this, you might be inclined to think “what’s this? I need to give this album another try.” Maybe in the future it will have that effect on me, but up until now this album has fizzed but never really gone "bang," although there have been some bright glimmers of hope for the future.
This album is a sound addition to the library of any fan of the genres they represents, even if, at nine songs, the record is a little short. Of course, using this tactic it means that there is less of a chance for things to get stale and their use of instruments and progression is to be commended. The guitar work is smart and sounds good, but there is nothing too technical involved. The lyrics aren’t great and the band isn’t going to become the favorite band of too many too soon, thanks to the other players in this scene, but I look forward to seeing what they can come up with next.
I liked the review and i checked out this album and it was pretty good. It reminded me of old school emarosa, but instead of the electronics they have a more melodic sound. I would probably rate it around 75 myself. Good but not life changing
Good review, seeing these guys live was better than most hardcore acts as well. There's an ambient quality about the clean sections on the album that separates them from the rest of the pack. It's pleasing to hear one of these passages instead of just more breakdowns. The bass and keys get a good amount of presence on this album as well.