Friday, December 31, 2010

Cheers, Mate! - Owl EP

This is probably the best album you've never heard by a band you'll probably never see live. Coming out of Ukraine it's Cheers, Mate! with their debut ep called the Owl EP. It is filled to overflowing with conflicting moments happening at the same time. Throughout this all too short album there is beauty is jammed up against ugliness and total devastation rubbing shoulders with moments of epic beauty.

This is most definitely screamo music. The emotional style of the clean singing and the piano add heaping doses of emotion to what would normally be just hardcore or perhaps post-hardcore rage. The constant shifting between beauty and aggression, not to mention when they manage to coexist, turns the sheer aggression hardcore punk is known for on its head allowing for much more textured music. If you don't like multiple vocalists with multiple styles both clean and not turn away now. If you like heavy guitars that quickly transform into melodic moments then this is probably for you.

Throughout this whole album the singers are constantly trading off. It's hard to understand without hearing it how powerful it is to go from a beautiful clean melody straight into a tortured scream on a dime. The only thing more powerful is when the one vocalist echoes the other. As often as the screamer is howling alone a lot of the time the screaming is relegated to backing vocals stretching out what the clean singer started.
The Intro starts off with a drum counting off four beats and we're off to the races. The guitars are already at full blast riffing away and in the background you can hear a piano tinkling. The screaming comes in towards the end and is aggressive and noisy but it never becomes unintelligible. 

The first song, And Nobody Wants To Stop has two breakdowns in it, surprise surprise. The interesting thing is that the second breakdown is lead back up by the piano and some clean singing. The Devil Drives Lada will surprise you because there is actually a catchy melody in the clean singing. That melody is only accented when the scream takes over and the piano drops out. There is just enough repetition to almost make it stick in your head but not so that it becomes overplayed. 

Your Eyes Turn To Widescreen is the fourth song and the most straight up screamo song on here. Right out of the gate there is a raging riff and a high pitch scream going at full tilt. The piano doesn't make an appearance until after the first breakdown at which point it replaces the guitar and a spoken voice comes in with just a tinge of aggression. The piano vanishes as quickly as it came and doesn't show up again till halfway through when everything goes completely chaotic. The instruments take over and wreak havoc.
The middle of this fourth song is the most interesting part on an album full of fascinating riffs and sections. The guitars rage along like they usually do until out of nowhere comes a piano. Instead of creating a melody and forcing a progression the piano bangs out unresolved chords that sound awkward yet completely awesome. Everything calms down suddenly and the clean voice emerges leading the melody with the screaming in the background eventually taking over.

The guitar usually stays in over-driven thrashy mode and the riffs are always tasty and constantly changing with more than their fair share of melody. The use of piano helps with shoving melody into places where there would normally only be brutality. The use of multiple singing styles really helps to make this music unique. There is melodious clean singing, just a little bit of speaking and both high pitched and guttural screams.

There are few hooks on this album so there aren't really any bits that get stuck in your head. Instead of walking away with bits of these songs stuck in my head I walk away astounded at the brutality and emotional content of this music. This is music coming straight from the musicians hearts aimed straight at your guts.