Riot Like Words - Riot Like Words Released May 12th, 2007
Well-mapped passion and a beautiful overall density are angulated over bracing synth lines in Riot Like Words' impressive release. Sticking to their guns under what might result in a hail of Emery comparisons, this Texan quintet are already touring relentlessly in support of Riot Like Words and their confidence in their new album is well-placed. Songs are carefully split between frenetic, post-hardcore blitzkrieg ("A Man Named Jealousy...") and straight-ahead rock with a sharp bite ("Standing on the X..."). And for being a self-produced venture, everything is crystal clear and the end product sounds damn good.
Bassist/Vocalist Craig Dacy brings such an integral aspect to the album with his vocals. They are always epic and in your face and, of course, he keeps the rhythm section in check with some admirable finger-pickin' skills. Guitarist Wes Seaton and synth-player Kyle Hughes also contribute vocals, the latter quite adept at sticking in some strong screaming exactly when necessary. In a sense, Riot Like Words do recall Emery -- what with a firm rotating cast of singers and everything. However, songs aren't so uncomfortably reliant on vocal harmonies as is the case with Emery. Guitarists Adam Hovey and Wes Seaton aren't big risk-takers, but they're great at what they do. They are wonderful at stringing together potent lines and exchanges, such as in the standout track "We Save the Children But Not the British Children". Dacy drives the song forward while Hughes keeps the irreplaceable synth accompaniment ever-so shiny and Hovey/Seaton set the pace to intense, playing with that degree appropriately.
Riot Like Words is lyrically praiseworthy, but its not the band's strongest hand of cards. Dacy is very confrontational in his lyrics and it gives the band an added element of gruff, but that doesn't always mean they're wholly original. On the other hand, most every verse seems to be directed at one person in particular; the accomplice in Dacy's seemingly twisted series of songs dealing with tragedy, love, caution, and moving forward.
I've spent an inordinate amount of time with this album and I'm glad I have. Its a sterling post-hardcore album and one that is worthy of multiple revisits. Riot Like Words may not be the most coherent album at times, but if you're trying to blow shit up with fast-paced, thoroughly enjoyable post-hardcore -- who cares?
Great review, the album is pretty much how you described it Scott. Though i'm dissapointed that Mike Blackmon wasn't at all mentioned in the review. Listening to the album myself i know the drums weren't "voiced" up to par, but still Mike's drumming is the undoubtedly the back-bone to their music, and the best display of musicianship the album has to offer.