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Mourning September
A Man Can Change His Stars
Floodgate Records

The guys from Mourning September are smart. They have done an almost impossible job of taking formulaic songwriting beyond the mere formula, and melding it into something that resonates across different musical spectrums and forms a nice unified album. The sound is somewhere between a hardcore/emo/pop feel, but maintained throughout, it is a completely guitar driven sound. Taken at face value the songwriting is nothing to write home about, but layered with the effect of the other band influences and production, the end product is something that shines.

The guitar work has the greatest impact on me, like a machine chugging away with no remorse; it is the steady pulse of the material, and urges the songs on in a beautiful way. Even though the lines are simple, they are driving, and fill a lot of the space, while providing well-chosen breaks. As a result of the guitars, the drums and bass become secondary in the overall structure. There is nothing wrong with either of these instruments; rather they seem to be sacrificed in the final production for stronger guitar emphasis. The lead guitar is pleasant and discrete, it only adds when it is needed and is interesting for the break out parts because it seems to add counter-intuitive lines, which blend nicely and add a different level to the songs.

The main singer does a heartfelt job of sustaining the different songs, but it is the backing vocals that push the ambiance even higher. At times the backing vocals follow the main line with harmony, and others, forming a completely different melody, which I rarely see nowadays. I am a big fan of backing vocals, and Mourning September uses them perfectly, as they ought to be used.

Ultimately, it is the songwriting that will either make or break this band. As stated above, it is formulaic and lacking enough hook to truly make the songs special. With all of the other things going for this band, stepping up the songwriting could only put them closer to hitting it big. In addition, while I loved the guitars, I do have to admit that they became almost unidimensional across the album. A higher high and a lower low could bring about a greater quality of material and feel. It is one thing to use what you have, but quite another to have enough restraint to not use it.

Either way it is worth listening to, and you can judge for yourself. I will appreciate this album for its uninhibited guitar driven sound, and that's enough for me.


Track listing:

1. Closer to Closure
2. Glorietta
3. Running
4. Every Dream
5. The Damage
6. Tonight, Tonight
7. April Dreams
8. Break Them Down
9. Hold on
10. Lights and Jewels

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