Envy on the Coast – Lowcountry
Record Label: Photo Finish Records
Release Date: March 30, 2010
When did misanthropy become such an enviable outlook? Nobody is interesting unless they are interested in nothing. Well, nothing more than saying nothing good ever happens. We have robot vacuums! And, ahem, books on tape. But none of this wizard-ish innovation is good enough for Ryan Hunter and the sadsack guys from Envy on the Coast. Lowcountry, the band’s second full length, is one dystopian anthem after another. On “Numb,” which utilizes the band’s brooding but poppy style, Hunter shrieks lines like, “I’ll rape this city / Just to show you she’s as pretty in the night as day.” And on opener “Death March on Two, Ready?”, in choruses accompanied by nothing more than metallic-sounding drum rumbles, he booms, “Sew the pages shut / So the pages still look the same / I say let ‘em run / I say let the colors run… / I want to be an American.” It starts Lowcountry with more force than any blah Incubus album. And it does exactly what an opener should: prepares.
While the deep bass in “The Devil’s Tongue” wouldn’t be turned away at a scary German metal venue, it works in excellent contrast of Hunter’s high-pitched screeches. This usage of polar opposite tones is what makes Lowcountry so enjoyable. In 2007’s slightly disappointing Lucy Gray, the band had no balance between hyperfast, tempo-shifting rock and the quietly contemplative fare that Hunter seems to enjoy. Here the two forms find space in the same song. This may make the band sound even more like Incubus (the stoner guitar effects on “Head First in the River” and maybe the poppiest song of the band’s career, “The Great T-Shirt Racket”). So yes, the band is a little more derivative than before – I even hear moments of Rage Against the Machine in the guitars of “Puritan Dirt Song” – but they are, at the very least, better equipped to construct a solid album.
Even if Envy on the Coast draw from many brazen influences throughout Lowcountry, the chosen idols are still extremely diverse. “Southern Comfort,” not surprisingly, has an infectious southern metal feel complete with guitars that chainsaw, noodle and rocket upwards. It’s a meal with a pages long recipe, yet each disparate ingredient forms a mosh-inducing result. As the only “simple” track on Lowcountry, “Like I Do” works if only because it’s style is all but absent. The aqueous effects and Hunter’s slyly delivered repetition of, “I’ve been getting high” creates the atmosphere the band was striving for, which for me was something between Qualuude overdose and eating a really, really good sandwich.
Just two weeks ago I was purposefully ignorant of Lowcountry. It wasn’t even on my next door neighbor’s radar. Now it’s quickly entranced me with schizophrenic takes on rock’s many styles. On closer, “Clean of You,” Hunter sings, somewhat sarcastically, “I heard you got a sweet tooth.” And this album certainly sates it, because as serious as all the naysaying can become, the huge guitars, beaten-silly drums and Hunter’s infinite enthusiasm make for stick-to-your-ribs music. It's great until it kills you.
Recommended If You Like: Incubus, GlassJAw, Chasing Victory
I've only heard their song Temper Temper. Maybe I should get into them more...
And RIYL GlassJAw? Great.
Temper Temper was a great beginning to this band but as they mature they are finding themselves and its awesome. My favorite track on this cd is "T-Shirt Racket Anthem." I love how this album has a country feel that is completely rock at the same time. This is my favorite album of its genre this year thus far.
Heard two songs off of it yesterday and didn't really know what to think of it. I'll be listening to it tonight. I'm one of the few that enjoyed Lucy gray quite a bit so I hope this doesn't dissapoint.