Pierce The Veil – Selfish Machines
Release Date: June 22, 2010
Record Label: Equal Vision
Pierce The Veil has always seemed like the little brother in its scene. While similar bands like OG Chiodos and Emarosa grabbed the headlines with their high pitched and intense sound, the San Diego quartet was an afterthought. Even Craig Owens and Jonny Craig overshadowed PTV lead singer Vic Fuentes earlier this year in their super-group Isles and Glaciers and their EP. But the band’s second album, Selfish Machines, aims to change that, as the 11 track romp looks to take a bigger slice from the scene cake.
The heartbeat of this album lies in Fuentes’ voice, as his tenor is something you love or hate; there is no in-between with it. While his voice was the weakest of the three in Isles and Glaciers, it’s fairly obvious right from the start that it was made for the style of music Pierce The Veil plays. His voice leads the urgent pace of opener “Besitos,” as it works nicely with Tony Perry’s piercing guitar work.
In fact, the first four tracks hit you in the mouth, as they channel some of their early work, back when they were known as Before Today. The slow buildup of “Southern Constellations” leads you into the raucous “The Boy Who Could Fly.” The hotly paced track features screams, riffing, and great drum work from Mike Fuentes. The breakdown serves as the band’s high point, as Pierce The Veil is at their best when they let go. The energy continues with “Caraphernelia,” which features a guitar riff that sounds straight out of a NES game. Jeremy McKinnon (of A Day To Remember fame) provides the heaviness, as his deep scream works as the contrast to Fuentes’ nasally proclamation of, “what’s so good about picking up the pieces?”
While Selfish Machines starts out strongly, Pierce The Veil lose their focus and get a bit indulgent with the odd “Fast Times At Clairemont High,” in which the band can’t decide on if they want to rock out or have a dance party. They decide on both, which results in awkwardness. Thankfully, “The New National Anthem” follows with its powerful chorus. “Bulletproof Love” is incredibly poppy and ultimately forgettable, but the band knocks it out of the park with the ballad “Stay Away From My Friends,” and the infectious “Disasterology.” The latter once again has the band doing what they do best: fast-paced rock with high-octane vocals.
Autotune rears its ugly head in “Million Dollar Houses (The Painter),” which is a complete misfire, but the bad taste doesn’t stay in your mouth for long, as the album closes with its strongest track, “The Sky Under The Sea.” It’s the kind of frantic number that highlights the band’s strengths, such as crunchy guitar chords and riffs that weave in and out with Fuentes’ howl.
Selfish Machines is Pierce The Veil’s strongest album to date. While the use of autotone and overproduction sully some of the album, the band accomplishes some cool things, especially on tracks like “Besitos” and “The Sky Under The Sea.” The experimenting is commendable, even if the band gets off track with clunkers like “Fast Times At Clairemont High.” So while Pierce The Veil sometimes lets style get in the way of substance, Selfish Machines will be an album worth hitting “repeat” throughout the summer.
I started listening to it, I think I like it, but the dude's voice is throwing me off. It's very piercing
edit: Ok, I listened to "Stay Away From My Friends" and I'm rethinking what I just said about his voice. I don't know how lame this sounds, but I'm blown away. This song is so fucking good.