Emery - We Do What We Want
Record Label: Tooth and Nail/Solid State
Release Date: March 29, 2011
Devin Shelton, vocalist and guitar player for Emery, is gone. The words rocked my ears. Though I was surprised, I anticipated some change subconsciously. Emery's core members had been together since before the release of The Question (2005). The law of averages demanded Shelton's blood. Losing him is like losing a kidney for Emery. You can go on living, probably doing most of the things you love to do, but the kidney is still gone - and it's noticeable. Shelton was obviously one of the chief contributors in writing. Without him, Emery produces honest, but at times slightly duller and ineffective lines than we are used to.
The first six tracks hit so hard, it is nearly impossible not to crack a smile. The album enters strong. We have start-and-stop breakdowns, pummeling double bass, and frenetic screaming intertwined with lead vocalist Toby Morrell's urgent, yet smooth, voice. Songs like "The Cheval Glass" and "The Curse of Perfect Days" are sure to stay in the band's rotation for awhile. Tracks 7 and 8 take the album down to a manageable level, as "Daddy's Little Peach" provides relief from the album's fist-to-face first half. "Addicted To Bad Decisions" sounds like a B-side from The Question, and it doesn't work as well with the new album. The final two tracks, "I Never Got To See The West Coast" and "Fix Me," ring sincere, but slightly ajar, as the record closes. If We Do What We Want was a 12-track album, I think Emery could have justified the placement of these tracks as the album's closers.
Emery manages to put their own spin on the "metal" aspect of the record. This is the best creative aspect of the band. They have an ability to infuse hard music with Emery, not the other way around. They have shown that they are equipped enough to write metal tunes as well as contemplative and mournful tracks.
In the end, Shelton's departure defines this record; we get a peek at who Emery is without him. Emery can now be split into Shelton and post-Shelton eras. Because of this stigma, it is hard to argue that the band has not lost anything. Though the album will keep fans happy, it will take Emery until their next rock release to regain their mojo. We Do What We Want effectively buys Emery some time. The band tells us they will be dropping an acoustic album later this fall, which means they will get some time to think about the direction they want to take. In the end, I can't help but feel that Emery knows they have been weakened without Devin Shelton, a man who will be missed by fans across the states and beyond.
I agree. ISSWS was a strong "comeback" album but this album seems weird. Surprisingly the "heavy" tracks are done well (breakdowns don't suit them well though) but the "soft" ones sound rehashed and simply weak. Disappointed but i'm still looking forward to the acoustic album.
I bounce around on how much I love these dudes. I mean, I always love the band, but I was just listening to the Question a couple of days ago, and I was like... whoa, this is REALLY good.
There is something to be said for the superbness of albums they've released in the past. My favorites are The Question and I'm Only A Man. Unfortunately, we may have seen Emery peak after In Shallow Seas We Sail. I think each of their 5 albums is very strong, but there's no way they can keep outdoing themselves. It's sad but true.