Sunday, 5 February 2012

Review: Famous Last Words - Pick Your Poison

 Generally, the view towards the constant rise of metalcore bands with poppier and greater emo elements to their music is one presented in a negative view. Bands like Asking Alexandria and Of Mice & Men are the kind of bands that are absolutely slated by metal-fans I know from Blairgowrie, who pretty much worship Slayer and Cannibal Corpse, yet the idea of playing them in front of my friends who are turned on by a poppier sound is just unrealistic. Either way, it's a style of music I've found myself getting into pretty quickly. The style of music itself seems to have developed a small fanbase due to it's wide inaccessibility but it's a fanbase that is extremely devoted. Actually, the idea of Asking Alexandria being cult leaders is pretty scary. While some bands try this style of music out and end up sounding annoyingly stupid, there are some other groups that do this successfully and show a wild sense of passion and talent. So depending on your view towards this style of music, you will either adore or detest Michigan quintet Famous Last Words, as their debut EP Pick Your Poison reveals them playing in a style that is totally definitive of this style of music.

 Is this style of music a recognised genre now? Is there such thing as "popcore" being a hardcore take on pop music as we know it? Actually, I hope there isn't that would just be really lame. If there was though, Famous Last Words would truly be the epitome of the style (and I seriously couldn't help but find the painful irony in the fact that one of the Youtube channels that contained videos of tracks from the EP was called "Metal4EverPop4Never") as sparkly trancey synthesizer backdrops and big choruses and melodic hooks are nicely intermingled with juddering guitar breakdowns and aggressive growl vocals.
 The group is clearly trying hard to use this pop music element to it's full potential, constantly adapting on it to make it sound fresh with every new song. (This would be a good chance for me to say that their attempts of making poppier sounding music than most artists in the charts these days, because clearly, as a fan of rock music, I'm meant to display a constant sense of despise towards artists who are in the charts. Yeeeaaah! Come on rock fans!! Let's go destroy Justin Bieber... or whoever it is that's relevant these days. I really don't know who would be anymore!!! Actually, I seriously don't care.) So, the group really open up their box of poppy tricks seen in the pounding trance beats and extremely autotuned vocals that bounce along with driving guitar riffs on the outro to I'll Get You Next Time, Gadget! and the short and snappy vocal cuts which comes in between the furious screams of frontman JT and guitar shredding from Ethan Osborn, seen in the intro of Bob Cox Lives in Ohio, which carries a reminiscence to the cut up guitar sections in Bring Me the Horizon's Visions.
 The group's metal and punk instincts are exercised well across the album as wild breakdowns are found throughout tracks like Starting Over and This Isn't Blackmail, This Is War which switch between being played rapidly and vigorously and slower and more in-depth with a similar amount of bile and brutality being produced. At times, there's an obvious reminiscence to the heroes of this style of music, A Day To Remember but they do make the songs their own in their intense and gripping nature. The more punk-based side of this sees the group sees an incredible array of pop-punk hooks produced. Their pop influence gives these moments a reminiscent of our modern generation of polished production-based pop punk acts like We the Kings and Forever the Sickest Kids. Which I also enjoy, whether that's what the group were looking at is another issue.
 Overall, on listening to this EP, it proves that in this hit and miss world of bands that are mixing metalcore and pop music and gaining a cult following as a result, Famous Last Words are hitters in this world. This slickly produced EP reveals a talent for combining the brutality with the catchy. It shows the group to be a group with a pop based mentality but have hardcore running through their veins. And if they keep this style as fresh and engaging as they have here, Famous Last Words surely have a bright future ahead.

 Famous Last Words' Pick Your Poison is out now via Invogue Records.

No comments:

Post a Comment