Close Up On The Quiet Ones

Land Ho EP

Written by: TL on 27/08/2013 21:41:28

Greenville quintet Close Up On The Quiet Ones' 2013 effort, the "Land Ho" EP, is a record that I must admit has proven harder to review than I thought it would, mainly because, as it has turned out on this my first encounter with the band, finding references to them in this day and age is pretty damn harder. With fast-paced, mainly chord-based song-structures here, it seems poignant to call them pop-punk, but the distortion seems a shade grittier and both the compositions and the sharp vocals often slide up into a dramatic territory alá the emo of Taking Back Sunday or the pop-punk/post-hardcore of Ice Nine Kills (from "The Burning" EP on which they still had promise).

Maybe that's not hard to peg at all, I might just be hesitant to do it because if that's what this is, why am I not all over it like a fat kid over cake? My historical preferences dictate that I should be, and yet, I'm not really feeling "Land Ho" (am I growing old maybe?). Either it could be that, or it could be that singer Alex Cortright gets to sliding his cleans up to anguished cleans a little too quick, and spends less than enough time on complimenting the instrumentation and engaging the listener with some remarkable melodies and lyrics.

Yeah I think that's it in a nutshell actually. With the conventional dual guitar setup and occasional appearances from piano seeming most focused on laying down dramatic dynamics with chord and pattern variation, the actual riffs are either not engaging enough or tucked too far back in clear, yet slightly flat production. This leaves Cortright with a backdrop and a responsibility to provide memorability mostly on his own, and try as he might to do his best Adam Lazzara, even the more obvious hooks like those in "Imaginary Houses" or "Safeword" underwhelm on impact, while the female guest vocals (from singer Dee Marie) on the You Me At Six-ish ballad "If You Play That Card, I swear" also don't quite do enough to help Cortright leave a lasting mark.

Overall then, I'm torn listening to "Land Ho", because I think they reference bands that deserve to be referenced more, but ultimately, the experience is a bit frustrating because so far I don't think Close Up On The Quiet Ones have pulled it off quite well enough. A fuller production and perhaps also a fuller vocal performance would help I think, but mainly I just think these guys need to define their hooks a bit better, and build up to them more carefully. Fix those things and I might be buying into them on the band's next effort, but here my excitement for the sound inevitably falls short despite having me hopeful to begin with.

Download: Imaginary Houses, Safeword
For The Fans Of: early Ice Nine Kills, Taking Back Sunday, You Me At Six, Pierce The Veil

Release Date 05.03.2013

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