The Myriad- You Can’t Trust a Ladder
1. Stretched Over
2. When Fire Falls
3. 10,000 x 10,000
4. The Last Time
5. Perfect Obligation
9. A New Language
10. Nothing is Safe
11. We Will Be Disappointed Together
Comparisons to bands like Coldplay, Muse, The Killers, Radiohead, and U2, a national debut album released on the rapidly expanding and improving Floodgate Records, Aaron Marsh (lead singer of Copeland) as a producer, and a huge buzz in the Christian music scene. Let’s face it, The Myriad have something to prove here on You Can’t Trust a Ladder. Coming out of Seattle, it is striking that the band has created a record so precisely reflecting the Euro-rock sound that hundreds of bands in the U.K. could only hope to mimic. With only 11 songs, The Myriad have definitely combined aspects of all those influences mentioned above into a breathtaking and haunting composition.
Jeremy Edwardson’s vocals are immediately reminiscent of Matt Bellamy from Muse, which is to say he is an incredible singer. Edwardson just as masterfully can weave his falsettos, his vibrato, and his soaring range over and under the layers of instrumental arrangement, to create that ethereal essence that makes a band like Muse so affecting. The Myriad flaunt a variety of sounds on this record. Everything from spine-tingling, keyboard based hymns (“A New Language”), to hard-edged crunchy guitar jams (“Stretched Over”), to the punchy dancier tunes (“Perfect Obligation”) that are akin to the bands currently infiltrating America’s radio waves. This may be confusing without listening to the album, but while The Myriad do dabble in sound variation the record does still maintain some monotony, at first listen almost feeling like one long song. However, if they had not attempted a broad spectrum, the case would be much worse.
The record commences with a big riff, leading up to an eerie verse enhanced by some really awesome vocal harmonies and an erratic bass line, and then an ultra-catchy chorus. “Stretched Over,” is a great first track to introduce you to what The Myriad bring to the table. If you the comparison to Muse hasn’t become obvious to you by now, it soon will, the following song “When Fire Falls,” could have sat right at home on Absolution, with it’s resounding aura of urgency and dragging vocal style. Still, I would never call The Myriad a rip-off, all in all the record, while sampling the styles of others, never comes across as a copycat.
Now if you’re one who’s impressed with chill inducing music, turn up the volume real high for “10,000 x 10,000.” The opening keyboard riff sounds like it was taken from an 80's horror film, and soon you will be consumed in the dark and almost bone chilling combination of gloomy vocals, seductive lyrics, dismal bass notes, and screeching keyboard. This song is truly captivating in way that only a band like The Myriad can offer. “The Last Time,” is one of the weaker tracks on the album but does contain some interesting lyrical pieces, including, “How can we risk not knowing the end of night?/In the hour of longing we will spark a myriad of lights.” Much like this citation the lyrics throughout You Can’t Trust a Ladder are often striking and impassioned yet always extremely vague. Steven Tracy, guitarist and songwriter said in one interview they chose to write in this style to “create a forum for sharing our stories while allowing people to find their own significance within the album.” One critic expressed his feeling that listeners would be frustrated by the ambiguity, but for me it is always more a matter of the music rather than the lyrics.
In the middle of the record, “Perfect Obligation,” and “Tethered,” exemplify the band’s ability to write more modern dance-oriented songs. Imagine a song by The Killers or The Faint but with Muse-like vocals instead of a deep drone voice, and you can probably get a good feeling for what these two tracks afford. “A New Language,” offers much the same thrill as “10,000 x 10,000,” but with a much lighter and breathy disposition. It is truly a beautiful ballad with guest vocals from Aaron Marsh towards the end. Aaron Marsh sincerely did a stunning job behind the boards, despite coming off a little thin at times, the production is nearly perfect, portraying the same elegant beauty found in Aaron’s singing. The album closes with “We Will Be Disappointed Together,” which employs the closing track strategy of starting out slow and mounting towards a grand finale type exit. You really can’t go that wrong with this formula, and here it results in a lush and touching ending, to a complete album.
So far this year this is one of my favorite albums which I have received. I strongly recommend checking out The Myriad if you are at all a fan of any of the current big name European rock bands, and especially Muse. If you have been a fan of The Myriad in the past, their latest effort will not disappoint. This type of music is very much the direction of modern rock as we know it and The Myriad have encompassed it from all angles and made it their own. Save for one or two lack luster songs and the slight essence of congruity, You Can’t Trust a Ladder is beyond question a dazzling and distinguished first national release. I think The Myriad still have their masterpiece ahead of them, but You Can’t Trust a Ladder is nothing short of breathtaking.