This Glass Embrace

Don't Let Your Eyes Forget The Stars

Written by: LF on 16/01/2016 14:41:13

From Phoenix, Arizona, we have a sort of family band that plays a distinct mixture of indie rock and post-hardcore on most of their records, although the noisier and rougher post-hardcore parts have been kept to a minimum on "Don't Let Your Eyes Forget The Stars", at least in regard to screamed vocals. The plethora of different instruments that spiced up a folkier sound on their previous record has been left out here to go for a simpler sound that puts the lyrics and melodies very much in focus. The question this time around then becomes if their music with its notoriously raw production can really hold up under these conditions.

First of all, though, the production actually sounds more rich and balanced than what has previously been the case with this band. The good thing about the simplicity is that lead vocalist Matt Le Fevers already has very clear diction and writing their songs with an extra focus here only serves to bring his weighty words across even more firmly. That does not, however, mean that the sound or creativity in songwriting in general suffers, as is evident from the very first atmospheric, echoing moments of the "Intro" track that opens the album leading into a huge sound with tremolo-guitar and bells.

The early album highlight, "Hunters", with its charming and energetic intro riff should also be able to convince you that this band still knows how to write catchy melodies that will make you bust a weird dance move or two in your chair. Here Matt and his co-vocalist and wife, Jackie Le Fevers, sing one of the more memorable lyrical pieces together in the song's beautiful chorus: "There are thoughts you have to turn away from quickly and pretend you didn't see / Avert your eyes and keep on breathing / There are reasons that you lie awake at night, things you ignore just to survive / And this is one of them / The lies you tell yourself to keep yourself alive". The emotional, introverted themes that the band usually explore are thus still dominant here and just as on their previous album, I still have a soft spot for the way they express bare, existential life issues.

The album's soundscapes range from soft, piano-based ones, like on "Ruins", all the way to the rough and dissonant one of "We Spoke", which is the only song to feature screams. Jackie also graces many of the songs with her rounder, slightly quivering voice that contrasts Matt's more nasal contributions well. In the danceable "The Paper Sky", she takes the lead on her own, providing a nice change before "Unspell the Words" bursts forth with faster rhythm and more punk-influenced guitars. This leads into the almost acoustic "The Sower" before the aforementioned "We Spoke" takes the stage with an angelic intro by Jackie before the desperation takes over the sound, through additional vocals that I believe are provided by drummer (and Matt's brother) Zack Le Fevers.

Through all these songs then, the album moves back and forth as usual between mainly soft and upbeat melancholic indie songs and rougher, more desperate-sounding pieces. The extremes in the band's sound have been smoothed out, though, and the album flows more evenly than some of their previous work. However, losing this eccentricity, the band's new album is also not the most interesting one they have released, even though it still provides a couple of good tracks that I will most likely return to in the future with a smile on my face.


Download: Hunters, The Paper Sky, We Spoke
For The Fans Of: mewithoutYou, Manchester Orchestra, Bright Eyes, Thrice

Release date 31.07.2015

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