Music: an expression of humanity, escape, a soundtrack to life, deep passion….
Emery pretty much always sounds like Emery. But Emery also likes to experiment and try “different” things. That sums up You Were Never Alone in two sentences. It’s been four years since We Do What We Want and with the return of Devin, you could be sure that Emery would sound even more like themselves then they did on We Do What We Want.
Emery usually opens up their records on a strong, upbeat, heavy song. So it’s notable that Rock, Pebble, Stone is kind of unassuming and mellow. So much intact I had to check the iTunes order to make sure it was actually track one on the record. It’s one of the purest “emo” songs Emery has ever written. A great track but an odd choice for an album opener.
If you’re worried about Emery going soft in their old age, the band follows up Rock, Pebble, Stone with Trash. The band’s most metal and yet weirdest song to date. Matt Carter’s guitar riffs feel like he stole them from The Chariot or Norma Jean. But just as metal as the song is at times, you still get that brand of emocore screaming/singing balance that Emery does so well. The song isn’t heavier than We Do What We Want, but it’s more metal for sure! Yet it’s still weird. The end of the song finds the band dive bombing out of metal mode and going lounge act. It’s odd, but Emery pulls it off so seamlessly that it doesn’t feel weird or forced at all.
At this point the Emery “sound” kicks in and we’re given a taste of what made us all fans of the band in the first place. Hard Times, The Beginning, Pink Slip, and Taken For A Bath all sound like classic Emery songs. They could fit perfectly anywhere in Emery’s discography without feel like retreads. And that’s important. Fans like the chances and the new elements, but honestly, we want something familiar and that reminds us why we fell in love with a band or artist in the first place.
The Less You Say sounds like Emery’s take on power pop. The opening riff on To The Deep is beautiful and unlike anything I’ve heard from Emery before. It’s a little more of that emo taste we got on the album opener, but cleaner. Go Wrong Young Man kind of feels like a less creepy version of Faith No More, but as done Emery. Toby doesn’t rap, he just speaks really fast, and it creates another unique sound for Emery. And then there’s a little cheerleader section. It’s interesting.
I like Emery. And I knew I’d like You Were Never Alone. It’s both fresh and familiar. But it’s almost too familiar. I think it’s a fantastic record, but it doesn’t quite grip me like records they’ve done before. 4.5 out 5 Stars.