I The Mighty

Satori

Written by: TL on 26/07/2013 21:21:31

One of rock'n'roll's long-lasting clichés is the idea of the 'breakthrough'. The notion that, once a band is first widely noticed for its talent, their career will snowball rapidly prompting a "strike while the iron is hot" situation, which many successful bands will recognise when they think back to the times that followed their 'breakthrough album', when they almost didn't see home for two straight years. With the speed the music scene is developing with today however, the pressure is increasing to 'break' new artists sooner, meaning that it's become prudent to at times wonder if some bands aren't handed a hammer before their proverbial iron is indeed hot enough for striking.

Enter I The Mighty, whose debut EP of last year, "Karma Never Sleeps", was already highly anticipated, though the band had done little of note except sign to Equal Vision and release the (admittedly awesome) single "Cutting Room Floor". Yet while "Karma Never Sleeps" didn't quite save the newschool post-hardcore scene, it had enough great songs to sustain the hype around the band and keep people looking out for this year's debut LP "Satori". As you may expect however, there's a reason I've prefaced its review in this way, and allow me to start elaborating on just that.

Firstly, let's cement that the San Franscisco quartet hasn't had time to change all that much, meaning that "Satori" sounds very similar in tone to "Karma Never Sleeps", there's just more of it, and for the uninitiated, it is a modern mixture of post-hardcore loudness and dynamics, light weight prog complexity and the occasional r'n'b nuance to the predominantly clean vocals. Everything is delivered with a sense of drama and intensity comparable to Emery, so you get the unmistakable sense that singer/guitarist Brent Walsh has poured himself into his lyrics. These are reminiscent of Conditions, generally lamenting human shallowness and ignorance, yet with the exception that where Conditions tend to take an empowering angle, Walsh crosses back and forth between self-righteousness and self-awareness with a feeling that eventually seems more frustrated and unresolved.

That's all well and good, but the problem is, as it so often is, that the songs here just aren't as characteristic as previous highlights (like "Cutting Room Floor", "The Dreamer" or "Escalators"). This is strange, because it's not that they aren't catchy - trust me, I've had the chorus to opener "Speak To Me" and the fantastic bridge to second track "Failures" stuck in my mind for days.. It's rather a good old case of things blurring together too much. There's a curious Pierce The Veil-ish occurence of Spanish guitar in "Occupatience" and a very Emery-ish opening to "Echoes", but colourful divergences like these are too few to stay afloat in the otherwise near-constant and extremly wordy stream of Walsh's crooned vocals (bonus points for referencing Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven" though).

And that I think, is the core in the album's problems. Walsh's singing is actually excellent, him coming off like a more controlled Aaron Gillespie on many occasions, but somewhere in the recording process, somebody forgot to make sure that the instrumentals had the necessary room and tone to compliment him, and to make the songs stand apart from one another. Inevitably this makes "Satori" an album on which you have to try more actively than you should to enjoy I The Mighty's qualities, although they are plainly there to be enjoyed. Each song has a chorus melody you'll be sure to recognise when it comes back around, and there's plenty of scathing riffage to be heard if you pay attention. Sadly, you're just too like to miss it if you don't. Its musical colours just don't seem saturated enough, and to me "Satori" hence remains as an album that I can take a lot away from if I sit down, read the lyrics on tunewiki and sing along to the winding vocal melodies, yet one I don't know that I'll sit through or queue many songs from moving on.

Download: Speak To Me, Failures, Echoes, Some Say It's Your Loss
For The Fans Of: Icarus The Owl, Conditions, Emery, Pierce The Veil
Listen: facebook.com/ithemighty

Release Date 11.06.2013
Equal Vision Records

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