Signals Midwest

At This Age

Written by: PP on 08/01/2017 21:19:30

On album number four, Midwestern emo/punk unit Signals Midwest continue to battle their difficulties in sounding as good on record as they do in a live environment. The rough production does their dual guitar approach no favors, but it takes an especially big toll on the emotionally charged vocals that get pushed back in the mix to an unnecessary degree. This has been a problem throughout their recorded history and continues to be so on "At This Age", which is a shame because underneath the messy production some pretty good songs are awaiting.

Sophomore album "Latitudes & Longitudes" got away with much due to its pure Midwestern punk approach to instrumentals that ensured a relatively high octane tempo coupled with a more explosive approach to the vocals, Bear Vs. Sharks style. "Light On The Lake" was a quieter album in comparison and, as such, suffered from exactly the kind of problems as described above. "At This Age" is basically like "Light On The Lake" version two in that sense. It channels similar influence from post-rock atmospherics and a strong quiet/loud dynamic throughout, balancing somewhere exactly between indie, emo, and Midwestern punk without really feeling at home in any of those genres in particular. There are a few good call/response style melodies, such as those on opener "You're Gonna Be Golden" or the quieter ones on "West Side Summer", and the title track sounds like an old school Thursday track pre "War All The Time" era, but overall the record is way too forgettable.

There are attempts at somber melodies that morph into louder, punk-fueled sections - see "Alchemy Hour" - but they don't go far enough. The twinkly emo guitar melodies have been done better by other bands, and the fading Midwestern flavor pushes the band away from that scene as well. So what's left? Fairly anonymous emo/punk that doesn't leave much of an impression. It's a shame: with a bigger budget production, this could amount to something, which I'm sure it still does in a live environment. But in its current state, not so much.


Download: You're Gonna Be Golden, West Side Summer
For the fans of: Timeshares, Bear Vs. Shark, Castevet, Dikembe
Listen: Facebook

Release date 02.09.2016
Tiny Engines

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