A Voice Like Rhetoric – Ethos
Release Date: October 23rd, 2006
Record Label: Unsigned
The debut full length from PA rockers A Voice Like Rhetoric is an impressive foray into the world of math rock. Conveying a new level of technicality and pop sensibility, Ethos is one of the most accessible contributions to the genre, simultaneously pleasing fans of The Fall Of Troy and Senses Fail. Despite the range of comparative bands, A Voice Like Rhetoric manage to mold their influences into something both catchy as hell and wholly their own.
Musically, many comparisons will be made to the recent outcropping of bands like Hot Cross and The Fall Of Troy that use angular guitar riffs and start-stop rhythms to inject life into the hardcore genre. These comparisons are not that far off, as A Voice Like Rhetoric do utilize these tactics, but to write them off as a copycat band would be a huge injustice. After a brief intro, the album kicks off with “Never Trust A French Auto Mechanic”, a great opener and introduction to the band for people unfamiliar with their sound. Sustained vocal notes peppered over harmonized guitars show that there is some genuinely good songwriting ability to go along with the instrumental skills. Guitarists Ross Horvith and Erik Pitluga have come a long way since the band’s 2004 EP. Trading off vocals and guitar lines, the duo make up a truly interesting team capable of intimidating and tasteful moments that transition from urgency to beauty in a heartbeat. Take for example “Psst, Our Vestiage Is Showing”, a 5-minute roller coaster ride through an amalgam of different progressive styles. The song displays A Voice Like Rhetoric’s knack for crafting intricate tracks that can meander off into extended instrumental jams while remaining completely coherent and cohesive. The song arrangements are well thought out, with each song following a vastly different structure than the one preceding it. Perhaps the most technical song, and best for that matter, is the closing track “Your New Disco-Tech”. The song is a showcase of the skills of every member of the band with piercing guitars and even a bass guitar solo. The band demands to be heard here with an urgency that emanates as if it is imperative to your health to listen. It’s great to hear an album that only gets better as it progresses instead of fizzling out after a strong first half.
While it may not be a life-changing album, Ethos is certainly worth a listen. The production is lacking a little in points, but this is the debut album from an independent band, so that much is to be expected. This factor does not take away from the album too much, but it would be great to hear a crisper sound to go along with the tightness of the instruments. Lyrically, the album could use a little extra boost. The words are by no means bad, just safe. At moments, they are spot on with the mood of the song, but at other points, they seem a little too commonplace. Half the time your head will be bobbing so hard that it’ll be easy to forgive this arguable shortcoming. Overall, Ethos is a solid example of the DIY ethic right down to the superb packaging and album art containing the album. Given the chance to evolve, become more comfortable playing with each other and a bigger production budget, A Voice Like Rhetoric could become a force to be reckoned with in the math rock world. Until then, Ethos isn’t a bad place to start.
i saw these boys sometime last year. they were playing at an A Loss For Words show. and me and my best friend hung out with them for basically the whole show. since the other bands sucked....and the kids there were all gothic and had chains and shit on them. but anyways, i love this band, and they are really nice guys.