Minor Holidays Release Double A Side Single “Times The Pain / Seashore”
San Francisco’s Minor Holidays are defined by the simple idea that playing music is an act of celebration. Singer &…
Relief - Pure Noise Records
I’ve listened to my fair share of albums built on the heated anguish of emotional outbursts. The reference point always comes back to The Saddest Landscape and La Dispute, but typically each artist comes through with a unique selling feature. From memory, Octaves sent chills down my spine with their raw instrumental anguish and Troubled Coast spun a narrative style that jolted each personal tragedy to life. But after repeated listens, I haven’t been able to discern that “wow” factor for San Diego screamo outfit My Iron Lung. Their sophomore effort, Relief, carries all the markings of a weathered emotional exposition, but without the character befitting their peers.
The key reference point lives in the throaty angst accompanying each otherwise varied note. Listeners will find themselves pelted by screams across every iota of each chorus, verse and note in between. Opener “Commonwealth” may ease in with ten seconds of jangled chords, but once My Iron Lung’s vocalist unloads into the mic his steadfast tone overrides much of the instrumental interest therein. A track later in “Conflict Of Interest” they enlist cleaner chords vaguely in line with contemporary Pure Noise Records artists like Fireworks. Yet the band buries this potential for diversity under unyielding screams. True, tracks like “The Darkest Past” and “Hard Season” yield for momentarily lulls with moody reverb, but rather than mirror the mood with haunting vocals circa Troubled Coast, they simply rev the engine and shift back into a familiar gear. In short, the disc plays like a continuous track that drowns out most lyrical relevance by drowning most tracks in a vocal numbness.
That being said, the band’s vocalist commands a mean set of pipes, and his throaty calls are exactly what folks frequenting the guttural corner of the screamo community love most. While tracks like “In Defense Of Drowning” and “Monument” won’t do much for those on the prowl for a well-paced endeavor, it might be enough for fans that revel in displays of raw, bloody emotionalism.
My Iron Lung stands up with its peers, but doesn’t offer much to stand out from the crowd. In a climate where La Dispute and The Saddest Landscape are no longer novelties and have inspired a fresh generation of screamo bands to follow suit, emulating one’s ancestry doesn’t quite hold up when in the midst of evolving it. Relief may satisfy fans, but it will be a short lived and easily replaced come the next likeminded product.