Hayes absolutely brims with phony grandiosity and predictable
crescendos of guitar that rise and fall with the torturously emoted
vocals. It's not that Aaron Smart's voice can't stretch a melody
with a slow burn when he wants to; it's just that he sings like he's
doing the b-actor version of sincere, sounding out each syllable like
it could be his very last. Some people swear by this kind of maudlin
rock, but I just impatiently wait for something to happen, discomfited
by both the vaguely whimpering tones and the gutted remnants of punk
and hard rock that flail around the periphery.
Eleven had a promising moment out the gate. "Necktie"
at least sounds like a serviceable robbery of Radiohead, atmospheric
without being overdone. From there on out, it's a by-the-numbers diluted
riff fest with vocals that rise and break into distortion on the high
notes before becoming murmured and unintelligible. "Hussy"
has a good title but when you hear the lyric "the tears of a
clown they fall in blue" and realize that no one's pulling your
leg, you're likely to become as irritable about it as I was. Continuing
through the rest of the album at this point would be pure, uncharitable
bloodsport and I can't bring myself to do it. Suffice it is to say,
this kind of music makes the barest of impressions on me, just enough
to get me swatting.
I can't help but repeatedly reference the FUSE music channel whenever
I come across a CD of this ilk, and trust me the number of musicians
churning out this brand of sensitive rock-esque wannabe pop swill
far outbreed a cicada swarm. Whenever I flip past FUSE, I'm always
a bit befuddled by the bands, these backburner major label projects
half-heartedly promoted or Screamo unknowns who craft music that's
polished and formulaic but devoid of the kind of ephemeral charm
that might catapult it into a slice of top forty market share. (Not
for lack of trying, mind you) It's difficult to criticize music
this anonymous and sterile without sounding like a total prick.
For all the emo die hards out there, here's another one to toss
on the stack, for the rest of us, it's just one more for the pyre.
4. Royal Flush
11. I Will Walk
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