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While She Sleeps – This Is the Six album review

Winners of the Kerrang! Award for Best British Newcomer, While She Sleeps is a metallic hardcore band with a lot of potential. This is the Six displays huge courage. Tight musicianship on impossibly difficult tracks, drums that affect your heart rate, two guitars and a bass that literally alter your psyche, and guttural shrieks that feel like a black velvet punch in the gut; this album seemingly has it all, and it does have it all; everything except lyrics that cripple the soul.

Metal is not a genre without poetry. It is a movement and so cannot escape the expectation that at its completion it will be an explanation of the unexplainable. It is the plight of hardcore metal to be able to unpack complicated themes of love and hate, good and evil, using for the most part monosyllabic words that have to keep pace with two bass drums. Those who pray to Lemmy do not have a wide spectrum with which to do it. Metal bands must rely on their songwriters to plague their listeners with lasting thoughts.

The idea that suffocation is a path to enlightenment is not unjust; in fact it is the incredibly powerful thought that opens Until the Death. As the track progresses though, While She Sleeps does not allow the notion the space to breath, injecting instead so many contradicting theories about the power of darkness, that their song suffers from the lost opportunity to add depth to their music via their lyrics.

Love at War comes the closest to achieving this and is the stand out track on this EP. WSS offers us a musical journey through the tricky changes and pace differentiations, the welcomed lull of the piano, and the multiplied voices in the intro. It displays that elusive complexity that allows us, just for a minute, to feel the true push behind the song.

While She Sleeps needs to spend some time fine tuning their belief system. Believe that the world is ending and that there is nothing that you can do about it, fine. Riff the rage of the disenchanted youth; try to awaken the slaves to the machine. Batten down the hatches for the apocalypse, or meet me in the park for wine coolers and hot dogs? These are all things for them to think about. The musicianship is there, they just need to dive a bit deeper into the darkness in order to find their light.

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Cayucas – Bigfoot album review

This album plays like the soundtrack to Cayucas’ very own splashy ride at Disney World; except instead of watching Br’er Rabbit’s narrative unfold, it’s a series of Zach Yudin statues gushing over various musical influences as he discovers them. In the first, Yudin as a small child with a bowl cut listening to The Beach Boys on the shag carpet in his parent’s basement. He’s holding the record high above him, victorious. In the he second, he’s a pre-teen smoking stolen cigarettes behind the neighbourhood drug store when an el camino blaring Beck passes by. He is bending around the corner, his ear glued to the musical vapor stream. Next, the millennium, Yudin as a freshman, en route to school, cardboard boxes and a potted plant in the backseat. The Dandy Warhol’s So Bohemian Like You is playing on the radio. His face is rolled up in an expression of exultation, his hand cranks the volume knob. Lastly, senior year bonfire at the beach, Vampire Weekend plays over the loud speaker, Yudin is frozen mid-star jump. Full. Musical. Orgasm.

And though Yudin’s vocals are not without merit, his voice floats as easy as sea salt on the Pacific breeze; and the songs themselves are catchy, invoking images of popped-collar-wayfarer-tribal-pep-rallies; the album itself sorely lacks originality. There are no mystery’s here, no lessons; save the pitfalls of holding your musical idols too close. Bigfoot is postmodern sink hole within which no listener can escape the nagging suppositions that they know exactly who Zach Yudin is, and why he is the way he is; which is arguably this albums greatest fault.

It is the unanswered questions that gift the transcendence that all music lovers covet. It is the not knowing, the not understanding, the awe and wonder at the inexplicable that allows us to remove ourselves from our bodies and float up into the ether. In this way, Cayucas fumbles their homage. They are unable to recreate the musical ingenuity of their forefathers and so their nostalgia feels like an ill-fitted suit, a department store version of couture.

On a positive note, this album is sure to rekindle your love for the bands whose motifs are so blatant. It will steer you back towards the original creators of the vibes, those who were able to cultivate that elusive wonderment because when those bands played, the nuances were fresh and awe inspiriting; but mostly it will revive your love of hipster bonfires on Maine’s beaches.