Falling With Style - Tides
Record Label: None
Release Date: July 30th, 2012
Everywhere I look I see people complaining about the importance of originality in the post-hardcore scene and for all music in general. It's like no one will be able to get away with releasing a generic record without it getting ripped apart by critics and music snobs alike. Despite this, bands still have a tendency to spit out songs of the same sub-par caliber as the many others before. I understand the power of the 0-8-3-10 chord progression. I understand that it's really easy to write a great melody over it and get that song stuck in your head, but it's just been repeated so many times that it's not even remotely appealing to pretty much anyone anymore, at least not for too long. You have to really take it to the next level, and Falling With Style just fall short of this with their EP Tides.
The members of Falling With Style hail from a town called Pontypridd in South Wales, and they seem to be fairly young. This is most likely why they fall for the appeal of writing the quick and easy generic song. As you make your way through the EP, you'll find that the same chords are being slightly rearranged. In fact, a lot of the sections in the first three songs are practically identical, as all three are written in the same key. The only song that seems to have a distinct identity is the closing track "White Lines," a softer song free of breakdowns and showing off catchy song structure and melody writing. That track is definitely the highlight of the album.
Just from one listen, it's obvious that Falling With Style simply tuned their guitars down to drop D and looked to an open chord for the majority of their songwriting. It's that painful simplicity that makes it hard to want to listen again. However, if you do manage to look past that and take a closer look, you'll see that there are some pretty good things about Tides. "Lakes" and "Anchors" show off some strong melody writing in their choruses, and the musicianship and songwriting of "Contingency" is probably the best on the EP in every regard. Catchy melody writing seems to be a strong point throughout, despite one flaw of using the same vocal line (albeit a catchy one) for both the verse and the chorus of "Reckless."
There's a common theme of simply shifting chords being followed by the drums, but occasionally there's an interesting change of page. During the bridge of "Reckless," the bass line begins to burst into a rapid riff, and eventually the song picks back up and goes into a long and intense guitar solo. Despite being sandwiched between two boring breakdowns, it still gives the song an edge to break away from the monotony of the verses and choruses.
I get it; generic songs are fun and enjoyable. What I don't get is why they're still being created, because while they are enjoyable, it's also common knowledge that people don't listen to generic music for any more than a few months. After that, something much more interesting has probably caught their attention. It's a simple pattern that's been showing itself for years, so why do people still follow it? I guess some are just hoping to become one of the few artists that use generic music to catch the attention of a label and sell it to the mainstream. Or maybe they honestly don't realize what's going to happen. Regardless of why, Falling With Style has released an EP that will undoubtedly fall victim to the same fate that many others like it have before. There are hints of further potential here and there, but the band is really going to have to work on those and drop some bad habits before they expect any true advancement.