State Lines/ Haverford - Splt
Record Label: Meadowbrook Records
Release Date: April 2, 1013
Angsty boys with guitars are, to quote everyone's favourite angsty boys with guitars, a dime a dozen. To prove that fact, the four tracks we're dealing with today have been created by two separate gangs of angsty boys with guitars. Haverford and State Lines are two young emo bands who certainly know their way around a heartbreak and, thankfully, they're willing to share their wisdom with us through chords and heavy handed lyricism. If I sound cynical, I haste to say that I'm not, Haverford and State Lines are two wonderful bands who, in a few months, should be lighting up the emo world. This split is another step in their separate journeys towards becoming truly excellent bands and serves as a perfect introduction.
First side is all on State Lines, with Haverford closing out the split. Although both bands are stellar, it becomes quite apparent, very quickly, that Haverford are the stronger side of this partnership. That's not to say State Lines' performance on here is weak, however Haverford seem so much more accessible, professional and developed as songwriters. Despite that, State Lines' raw acoustic offerings are blessed with highly redeeming qualities. "Weird With You" is quite catchy and the lack of production lends itself to the band having a lot of character. "The Long One" seems a little directionless as an acoustic track. It could be a great pop punk anthem, if given a proper full band treatment, but relying on acoustic guitar traps the track, and doesn't allow them to define the nuances that would have made the song more memorable. Maybe it's because acoustic State Lines sounds a little like an early Dashboard Confessional demo, or maybe it's because I'm used to the adrenaline and energy of usual State Lines, but this certainly isn't the band on the top of their game. It feels a little like they've just phoned in the tracks. That's not to say these are bad songs, they're just not what we've come to expect from State Lines.
On the other hand, Haverford are better than ever. They never try too hard, nothing comes across as forced and it makes for music which is so incredibly easy to listen to. "Everything In-Between" is melancholic as hell - tired sounding vocals, subtle acoustic guitar work and lost, broken lyrics - and is utterly irresistible. "Seal Mountain" takes things even slower and more broken before an eventually crescendo. It's just really, very awesome. Every aspect of Haverford, from their delivery to their lyrics, is like a really adorable but slightly raggy puppy whimpering to be loved. And it really works. Haverford are on the verge of big things.
Overall, this is yet another one of those emo splits that isn't entirely necessary, however is a pleasant addition to the collection. Whilst State Lines aren't on best form here and Haverford are on the best of form, these are two bands to keep looking out for. It won't be long before you hear these names again.