The Assembly Line - Explodes Like Fireworks
Record Label: None
Release Date: June 16, 2008
With a name like The Assembly Line, you'd really expect something that is well put-together, if not all that original. Thankfully, the band (which is really one guy by the name of Thor) manages to achieve the former whilst steering well clear of the latter. I suppose that the name is even more apt down to the fact that his recording process would be similar to an assembly line. But I digress.
"She carried herself away from the crime scene, head on her shoulders, scrapes on her knees. I wondered 'where were you rushing to?'"
And so the record begins. Firstly, I must answer the question posed in the lyrics above - she was probably to go and find a way to get her hands on this music and, to be honest, I can't blame her; the music is exquisitely well-written, performed and recorded.
Now, onto the head of the matter: the music. The disc starts off with the song "Valor Among Thieves," a song which begins acoustically and showcasing Thor's vocal talents; his voice has a mellow & melodic quality which fits the music he writes down to a tee - what he's done in terms of blending his music really can't be faulted. There truly are so many good things going on with his music that it's difficult to keep directly upon the task at hand. The song continues by adding drums and then goes on to layer more & more sounds and rounding out what was already a pretty good sound. Backing vocals, also provided by Thor, a bass line and a little bit of piano all add to what was already there to create a really convincing "full band" sound for the chorus, fitting extremely well with the verses around it.
The Assembly Line adds to the success of the first track with a second: "Madison." This song features a lot more of the layered vocals seen on the first track whilst abandoning the acoustic intro and portraying a dancey feel to the music, never once faltering or leaving any points open to criticism.
"I pretend all I want, but I can't get you out of my mind."
Next comes "Pretend," a memorable and more brooding acoustic number with percussion and, at points, a (probably) synthesized string section. The song seems to be again about a girl (that said, what song isn't?) and is, yet again, very well done.
This song's followed up by "Recovery," and again, this one's an acoustic number with a lot of different things layered in and brings about a sense of the weather being terrible outside but being all safe and wrapped up inside, looking out and thinking about things. It's exactly the type of song I'd listen to if I wanted to think about my life and take a step back. Not only this, but it also has a typically good set of lyrics to go along with it.
"I'm gonna haunt your house when I die, move little things around."
"Chasing Ghosts," the penultimate track on the six-track demo, is more the kind of catchy tune which would make the listener want to move themselves around (or at least boogie a little in their chair) than move little things around. This song is great for just sitting back and enjoying - in fact, it is so good that it doesn't need any work to take in and enjoy; all you need are ears. The same can really be said of the EP as a whole but this track really brings it all together and confirms that the EP is written about the highs and lows of a past relationship.
"I want to make you sad, to break both of your knees."
Well, I'm sad enough that the record's about to finish; I don't need to be knee-capped. I've really enjoyed it all the way through and the final title track does nothing to detract from that feeling. In fact, it's lyrically perfect for a final song, talking about the end of a relationship and the bad blood between the two at the end of it all. It also succeeds the artist's aim of "going for simple songs with big endings," yet it doesn't need to layer anything or build up to the extent of the previous songs, with the sheer power of the melding of music and lyrics somehow creating an emotionally powerful ending that, at first listen, perhaps didn't seem so.
The music was born out of losing a job and, as I've mentioned before, the ending of a relationship, though the music itself isn't written about the former. When Thor decided to achieve one of his life's goals and record something meaningful, he didn't take the task lightly: he enlisted the help of the producer Mark Lewis who has previously worked with names in the industry such as Bury Your Dead, Trivium and Flyleaf, and whilst a track record such as his may not suggest that he'd do a good job producing the kind of thing that The Assembly Line have done, he has done admirably well, really bringing out the sounds and mixing them together very well.
The Assembly Line has already seen some interest from two major labels as well as a label wanting to do a publishing deal with him in Asia, so it would seem that I'm not alone in my enthusiasm for what he's done. I'll definitely be on the lookout for future releases but, until then, this is going to be seeing a lot of my eardrums.
The Assembly Line's full-length album will be out in February or March.