Twenty One Pilots - Vessel
Record Lablel: Fueled By Ramen
Release Date: January 8. 2013
Fueled By Ramen knows music. They've signed some of the biggest acts to cross over into the mainstream, such as Fall Out Boy, Fun., Paramore, Gym Class Heroes, and Panic! at the Disco (see this Thursday Discussion: http://absolutepunk.net/showthread.php?t=3008052). April 2012 Fueled by Ramen released that they were signing this virtually unknown band called Twenty One Pilots. At this point I had to check them out. I mean, if Fueled by Ramen is signing them something has to be up, right? Twenty One Pilots fuses many musical elements and genres to make their music, drawing from pop, rock, rap and electronic genres. The band is very clever when it comes to their sound.
Vessel starts off with "Ode To Sleep" and the track starts with a bang. Heavy electronic elements open the song followed by a rapped verse. I've heard some compare the rapping vocal style of Tyler Joseph to Eminem, and while that comparison isn't exactly equivalent there is some similarity. However, Joseph's range as a vocalist is extremely extensive throughout the album. From highs to raps to even screams at times, Joseph uses every aspect of what he thinks his vocal cords can do. Some moments in the album however, prove the changes in vocal style to come at too dramatic of a change; the musical change from the introduction of "Ode To Sleep" and the chorus is very drastic, as well at the rapped bridge. At these points in the song it almost feels as if it's two different songs mashed up poorly, for the song goes from electronic and rapped to a very distinct pop/rock sound. It's at these times the album hits its low points.
The band more than makes up for this in the next track, "Holding On To You". While the first track's change in style was jarring, the second track flows together incredibly well. Meshing the rapped verses with the sung choruses works well to create a catchy track full of hooks to keep your attention. Joseph usage of alliteration and lyrical assonance create a flow that expands as the song unfolds. The lyrics themselves are even clever; I wouldn't go as far to say that the message is profound, but the bridge "Is it time to move our feet to an introspective beat. It ain't the speakers that bump hearts. It's our hearts that make the beat" is a catchy hook. "Migraine" uses a similar formula, driven by rapped verses and sung choruses that carry the track.
At times the band comes across as a more electronic enthused 30 Seconds To Mars. It's at this point the band really comes in on their stride. The track "Trees" builds up immensely with the backing piano up until the electronic synths come in and really drive the track home. Josh Dun's drums come in at the end of the track and take it to an entirely different level with this grandioso feel that the band really capitalizes on. At the tracks finish is where the 30STM reference comes in, with the "whoas" and even a Leto-like yell to complete the track. "Car Radio" uses a similar track structure, both being standout tracks on the album. "Guns For Hands" follows suit; you'll be singing, " That you all have guns / And you never put the safety on" for days with its hook. The rapped bridge complete with the almost reggae style backing beat takes an already amazing track and just pushes it forward. The ingenuity behind the slowed beat breakdown with the brisk rapped vocals allows the band to capitalize on the cleverness that makes this band something to pick out.
"Fake You Out" is another prominent track, relying heavily on poppy electronic beats with Joseph's vocals sung over them. The band thrives on simple, catchy chorus's on their poppier tracks and the band does this well. "The Run and Go" and "Semi-Automatic", complete with do do do's and everything, capitalize on this type of sound. These tracks are fun in a pop way, as their drum and piano driven sound works well with this sound. Other times the band slows things down. This does the band good it some instances, with "House of Gold" as the prime example with the acoustic stirred change-up that really spotlights Joseph's singing voice. "Screen" tries too hard to be that slowed down pop song however, and comes across as a dull track, almost something you'd hear at a middle-school dance. The closing track "Truce" goes over well, however it lacks that spark that makes it stand out in the album.
Twenty One Pilots is a pop/rock band that spices up their songs with rapped vocals. The bands best moments come across when their tracks capitalize with a grand sound, with the raps used more-so as a some sort of secret weapon of flow. Their worst moments come when they try too hard to be innovative in their sound, jarring their rap and pop sounds into a bad mesh. They're a clever bit; they aren't too monumental, as they won't change the sound of music forever, but there's a chance that their imprint will be made, even if it's a light one.
Haha, whoops. Never posted/written a review before.
Yeah, I watched some of the Regional At Best youtube videos when they got signed and that's about all I listened to by them before this album came out. I was really surprised I liked this album as much as I did.
I saw this band tonight, and out of all of the shows I've been to they have some of the best stage presence I've ever seen from anyone. Regardless of what you think about the album give their show a chance they put their all into it and its a mind blowing experience