The Number Twelve Looks Like You - Worse Than Alone
Record Label: Eyeball Records
Release Date: March 10, 2009
Worst Than Alone, the final release by New Jersey quintet The Number Twelve Looks Like You, proves to be their most ambitious and divisive release. While the band had always been experimental, incorporating more clean vocals, changing time signatures, and jazz elements more and more with each release, this is easily the biggest step yet.
One of the biggest changes is the amount of (surprisingly good) clean vocals present, most notably on tracks such as"Marvin's Jungle" and "The League of Endangered Oddities." The latter is especially surprising, being almost exclusively clean vocals, and being, well, extremely odd. It's style is quite different from any other Number Twelve track; it's much more restrained and melodic.
Also, the band style fluctuates more than ever, from the straight-up face melting metal of opener "Glory Kingdom," to the aforementioned "Oddities," to the ever-fluctuating jazz-to-metal-to-jazz "The Garden's All Nighters." The changes are usually seamless, although it will vary from person to person whether it's viewed as creativity or a mess.
Granted, this is still a metal band (or grind, or mathcore, or whatever you want to call it), and there are plenty of tracks that provide the madness and shrieks. But almost every track does a great job of intertwining blistering displays of technicality and the shredding of vocal chords with other, more down-to-earth elements that keeps the listener guessing with each track.
Each track is solid in it's own right, and the album is more cohesive than previous efforts. Tracks three through six are the core of the album, where it seems to find a groove and grab the listener's attention without letting go. The strongest track, or at least the most impressive, is closer "I'll Make My Own Hours." It's nine minutes, but without being a drag. It captures the band's sound, with a loud, pummeling opening, a slower, more melodic section with lighter instrumentation, some hooks, and a final crescendo into a bellowing finish before fading out to finish off the album.
While fans remain divided on the album's standing in the band's discography, there is no doubt Number Twelve went out on top. As a band, they never sounded better, finding a balance between technicality, genre-bending, song structure, and quality.