Signal the Escape - These Scars Are Just the Beginning
Record Label: Double Blind Music
Release Date: October 23, 2007
I stumbled across this Connecticut post-hardcore-screamo-alternative-pop band while browsing iTunes (one of my pastimes), going from one band to another via the "Listeners Have Also Bought" list that the program provides. My initial response upon listening to "Exorcism in the ER," the second track off of These Scars Are Just the Beginning, was one of mild interest, but at that particular time time I had been busy searching for songs by Escape the Fate and Emery to add to my music collection, and so Signal the Escape was left for another day. Eventually I grew bored of my modest collection of screamo bands, and I decided to search for some new artsists, whereupon I rediscovered Signal the Escape and bought the entire EP (a rare occurance for me). After listening to it several times through, I discovered that Signal the Escape was not the band that would save me from my disinterest with screamo music. Their hook-laden and somewhat catchy vocals and guitar were by no means an oasis in the desert of today's post-hardcore. Lyricist Tom Kavanagh is no Pete Wentz in today's emo poetry contest. Despite their apparent mediocrity, Signal the Escape did, however, leave me pleanantly content with the state of modern rock, and listening to their EP is not a complete waste of seventeen minutes.
These Scars Are Just the Beginning contains 5 songs, one of which is a remix of another song on the EP. Because the remix must be viewed on a different plane (with good reason), this portion of the review will deal with the four original songs, which more accurately display Signal the Escape's musical style.
The EP startes out with "Maudlin," which is my favorite track. It utilizes a good balance of screaming and So They Say-esque melodic singing, but the instrumentals fall short of the vocals. Throughout most of the song, the electric guitar forms an impassible wall of sound, and you have to strain yourself to just focus on the singing. The drums aren't bad, but are distorted by the guitar wall and mediocre production values. In the end, however, "Maudlin" makes for an enjoyable song, and it desrves its number two spot in Signal the Escape's Top Songs (according to iTunes).
"Exorcism in the ER" is the second track on These Scars Are Just the Beginning, and would make a great single if it was produced a little better (it suffers badly from a constant crackling sound, even on the official non-MySpace version). It follows a similar musical formula to "Maudlin," with its guitar wall overshadowing any hint of bass, and its vocals standing out from the other aspects of the track. With lyrics like something out of a Senses Fail album and a strong emphasis on singing rather than screaming, it is easy to see why this song is the most popular. "Boys Lie" and "Borderline Stalker" are similar to "Maudlin," but make heavier use of screaming. The screaming in the chorus of "Boys Lie" is like something one might find in Alesana, while "Borderline Stalker" sounds like the illigitimate child of Silverstein and All Time Low. Both are good songs, and are less infected with the guitar wall than the two previous tracks. All in all, they balance out the album well.
Finally, the real gem of These Scars Are Just the Beginning is the S.O.T.E.G. Vocal Remix of "Maudlin." It keeps the feel of the original song, but makes it sound so much better. The tempo is slightly slower than the original, but the remix is truly more effective than "Maudlin" could ever be on its own. Not only is the singing much clearer, but the screaming takes on a new dimension when not stuck behind the wall of guitar. As a major fan of this song and rock remixes in general, I applaud Signal the Escape for including this on their debut EP.
In the end, These Scars Are Just the Beginning is neither a huge success nor a complete failure. Despite some bad choices in the way of the guitar and less-than-favorable production values, this album is fun to listen to and is a good break from the monotony of other screamo bands. Though in no way an evolution in the world of emo (perhaps even a step back), Signal the Escape's These Scars Are Just the Beginning will forever have its place in my music library, appropriately right between Senses Fail and Silverstein.
i love this ep. at first, i was brought in by the singing. but i was caught by the screaming. these guys are really really good. they have the potential to make an absolute intense full length. they mix screaming and singing well. it keeps you singing it all.