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The Scene Aesthetic
The Days Ahead EP
(self-released)
www.thesceneaesthetic.com


Expectations are a funny thing. When I get a new release from a publicist that specializes in emo and post-hardcore bands I'm bound to have some preconceived notions about what I'm about to listen to.

When I drop in The Scene Aesthetic's new EP, The Days Ahead, I'm clearly expecting something noisy. What I hear instead are a couple of earnest young men with complimentary voices singing an odd mix of singer/songwriter cum boy-band ballads. The shock leads me to an interesting discovery - do you know what the difference is between an emo band and a boy-band? Guitar riffs and occasional Cookie Monster vocals. It never occurred to me, until this very moment, that if you take a band like Hawthorne Heights and remove those two key components you'll be left with N'Sync.

Setting aside my strange and random connections, The Scene Aesthetic manage a decent outing with The Days Ahead. Over the short span of seven songs the duo demonstrates decent songwriting and arranging skills. There are hooks aplenty as well. You can feel the legacy of the Backstreet Boys on title track, "The Days Ahead", but instead of electro Top 40 it's delivered in the form of a stripped down acoustic and piano ballad. "Letters" is a sing along, party track replete with handclaps and soul/funk dance guitar riffing. Their third track, "Ships" reintroduces the plaintive emo vocal style over a charming acoustic instrumentation, dueling vocalists trading verses and coming together at the chorus to harmonize with one another.

"A Little Bit More" kicks up an island backbeat and reggae-tinged rhythm, delivering a track that owes a debt to Bruno Mars' "The Lazy Song". Another standout track is "Letters" on which both singers trade back and forth on vocal duties. In an odd twist they deliver what sounds like an unplugged version of Blink 182.

If you're interested in exploring the cross-roads of two totally incompatible musical genres like emo and Top 40 pop, this EP will be an interesting listen.

-George Dow

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