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
"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
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.
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