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Isles & Glaciers - The Hearts of Lonely People Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 6
Musicianship 5
Lyrics 5
Production 5
Creativity 4.5
Lasting Value 5.5
Reviewer Tilt 6.5
Final Verdict: 54%
Member Ratings
Vocals 7.83
Musicianship 6.92
Lyrics 7.04
Production 7.17
Creativity 7.08
Lasting Value 6.63
Reviewer Tilt 7.54
Average: 72%

Isles & Glaciers - The Hearts of Lonely People

Reviewed by: TestwoodRapier (09/14/10)
Isles & Glaciers - The Hearts of Lonely People
Record Label: Equal Vision
Release Date: March 9, 2010

Recently, I had an interesting job offer that involved going overseas. It was an exciting prospect and so I flew over for a visit prior to making my decision. Every ingredient was right: a lovely country, an excellent salary offer, interesting work and a hassle free move. Except, when I arrived at the place, all of these seemingly perfect elements just didn't combine to create the dream move that I was hoping for.

Isles & Glaciers is an 'all-star' band made up of the genre's leading players, making this EP a mouth watering prospect. You could say that if post hardcore was a sport, Isles & Glaciers would be this year's national team. Musically, the band is overflowing with talent, with drumming duty provided by Mike Fuentes (Pierce the Veil), bass by Matt Goddard (Chiodos), guitars by Nick Martin (Underminded) and Brian Southall (The Receiving End of Sirens), plus a good helping of sampling also provided by Brian. There is no abating vocally either; Isles & Glaciers features three of the most distinctive vocalists in the genre: Jonny Craig (Emarosa), Vic Fuentes (Pierce the Veil) and Craig Owens (formerly of Chiodos).

All of these elements combined seemed, on paper, to be something I would instantly fall in love with. However, as with my trip, once I paid the EP a visit, I was left under-whelmed and disappointed by the time it reached the end.
The EP moves along at a swift rate, with basic guitar parts accentuated by fast-paced drumming, tinged with electronic effects. The vocal duties are distributed evenly between the three singers who each take it in turn to perform a couple of lines before turning the spotlight over to another, until their next line comes up.

Thus we arrive at my main gripe. Putting aside my personal distaste for Craig Owens' vocals, I find it mystifying that three such highly regarded singers partake in a 'vocal relay' throughout the EP, continually passing the baton to the next person, without ever attempting to create harmonies with each other instead. It's not until stand-out track 'Viola Lion' that an attempt is made to introduce some harmony, however it actually falls to guitarist Nick Martin to provide the beautiful backing-vocal harmony toward the climax of the song, that the previous five tracks had been screaming out for.

In the past, bands such as The Receiving End of Sirens, Alexisonfire and Conditions have given us excellent examples of how three diverse vocals can harmonize together to create superb melody and whilst I was fully expecting this EP to be another glowing example, it is tragically lacking any such accolade. Instead, it feels as though the vocalists wrote and performed their sections in complete isolation from each other, and whilst that may have been practical for the performers, it is a tragic waste of ability and opportunity for the listeners.

What compounds the problem is that the band have clearly identified the vocalists to be the key selling point of this record, so when the vocals fail to inspire, there is very little in terms of musical quality to rescue things. The music is simply a back-drop to allow the headline names to show what they can do. We are left with overly used electronic effects (which at times makes the acoustic drumming inaudible), unmemorable guitar parts and very little attempt at creating interesting songs.

The most frustrating part of all is that 'Viola Lion' is a fantastic track and demonstrates just how good this EP could have been if the band had collectively contributed to creating something with depth and coherence. As it is though, the musicians of the band have been relegated to the background in the hope that a few big name singers can carry off a series of songs without really needing to think too hard about the composition.

I firmly believe that if this EP had been put forth by a band of unknowns, with an un-heard of vocalist, then this EP would be quickly discarded as a disposable release because without a few brand names to give the band an image, there simply isn't enough quality in the songs to make it anything else.

In the end, I declined the job opportunity. Although there were many carrots dangled in front of me, they were never going to amount to a meal. There were a number of individual incentives that were persuasive but in the end, it was the very foundation of the deal that proved to be the downfall: I didn't like the city itself. The city failed to win my heart because there lacked a personal spark that would have sealed the deal and convinced me to move.

The Hearts of Lonely People has been constructed by a group of extremely talented and capable individuals, but the foundation upon which every successful record is built is the quality of the songs and sadly, this EP falls short. Synergies do not arise by throwing together multiple individually attractive elements and hoping that something magical happens. My recent personal adventure, and this EP, are clear examples of this.

Recommended If You LikeChiodos, Emarosa, The Receiving End of Sirens, Underminded, Pierce the Veil
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 16
11:16 AM on 09/19/10
#2
shawnPLAGUES
Steve Holt is a bastard.
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I'm glad to know that I wasn't the only person disappointed by this release.
11:39 AM on 09/19/10
#3
the seventeenth
level 71 community member
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Excellent review, although I disagree with half of your most critical points.
12:41 PM on 09/19/10
#4
lew_1987
The desperation's gone.
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There is too much programming/sequencing on this EP.
12:44 PM on 09/19/10
#5
Short-Lived
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I couldn't get into this EP at all. And I really don't get the big fuss over Jonny Craig, to me his vocals are just blah
02:05 PM on 09/19/10
#6
brandon_260
Ah, yes.
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The review is well written, but I honestly loved the EP
05:57 PM on 09/19/10
#7
Dystroxia
We found love in a hopeless place
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Good, well-written review, but the album is not a 49%.

Member ratings has a more accurate score.
08:31 PM on 09/19/10
#8
phillycheese37
I'll be back around
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I agree withe every single point you make. Thank you for not being a fanboy. Too much programming, can't hear the background music when you need to (not like it's much worth hearing anyway), and the vocals sounded wanting for more.
Also, fantastically written my friend.
09:27 PM on 09/19/10
#9
WeltallAY
Je suis l'Alpha et l'Oméga
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I'm really curious; what city/country were you offered a job in?
03:05 AM on 09/20/10
CheckeredFloors
nah
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I didn't like the structure of this review at all. 14 paragraphs? Really?

I do agree with the separate vocal comment though. They really could of/should of produced a much better Ep considering the talent they all have. Viola Lion is the only song that still gets played while the rest lay practically untouched.
05:12 AM on 09/20/10
TestwoodRapier
Spreadsheet Advocate
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I'm really curious; what city/country were you offered a job in?

It was Toronto, Canada.


Good, well-written review, but the album is not a 49%. Member ratings has a more accurate score.

Yeah it's a little lower than I intended. This is the first review I've posted through AP and the scoring is pretty different to how I do it myself for my own purposes. I tried to transpose it as best I could, but it clearly didn't work too well. I'll take this as a learning exercise and just adopt this system in future!


I didn't like the structure of this review at all. 14 paragraphs? Really?

It's a fair comment, my reviews aren't usually this long. I considered editing it down, but I thought it was all valid so I left it as it was.
I'll take it on board for future reviews though. Thanks for the feedback.
11:55 AM on 09/20/10
Dystroxia
We found love in a hopeless place
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Yeah it's a little lower than I intended. This is the first review I've posted through AP and the scoring is pretty different to how I do it myself for my own purposes. I tried to transpose it as best I could, but it clearly didn't work too well. I'll take this as a learning exercise and just adopt this system in future!

You do know that you can edit the score, right?
12:46 PM on 09/20/10
TestwoodRapier
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You do know that you can edit the score, right?

I do now!
01:12 PM on 09/20/10
Dystroxia
We found love in a hopeless place
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Oh, and whoever said your review is too long is wrong, it's really not. Just combine a few paragraphs together.
05:45 PM on 09/21/10
eatbabiesyum
Registered Infant Consumer
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The review is well written, but I honestly loved the EP
same here
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