Once upon a time, emo music contained emotions other than sadness. This particular genre doesn’t have to be all about sulking in one’s room after a break up or wearing your heart on your sleeve. It can be about any and all feelings, as it should be. BurnThe8Track brings emo music back to its roots with this, their second album, The Ocean. The emotions constantly change, winning over listeners’ hearts and minds. Dynamic and fiercely fun, these Canadian boys will take your ears for a ride and your mind on a feverishly fantastic journey; blending gripping guitar music with insightful, delightful lyrics as this band rises and soars high above the rest.
“We Stand Alone,” a real sing along melody, definitely gets my vote as best song on the album; this song breathes life into a stale genre that has left many a fan feeling weary, emotionally spent, and listless. BurnThe8Track really provides one of the smoothest voices rock has served up in a long time. Lead singer Derek Kun’s breathtaking, echoey vocals blend perfectly with Jason Kun’s vibrant guitar playing. The song really captured my attention and I wound up listening to it repeatedly while reviewing this CD. Lyrically the best song hands down is title track, “The Ocean.” The words, “Turn to the ocean to wash the guilt away / Turn to the ocean to wash the fear away / Turn to the place you love to find the beautiful / Turn to the ocean / Escape the tragedy” smack of poetic beauty.
With their powerfully passionate, soulful rock, they prove themselves amidst a sea of musicians who call themselves emo. The vocals grab you and draw you in and the music makes you stick around until the end. If you want a change of pace and care to feel something other than emotional apathy, give this album a spin. You will find yourself glad you did.
Hatchie – Keepsake
Keepsake, the debut album by Brisbane dream pop artist Hatchie is musical luminescence that can only be described as music written for the stars
Brisbane indie-pop artist Hatchie (known to her friends and family as Harriette Pilbeam) is in the envious position of being a pop artist unspoiled by the many trappings of what it is to be a modern pop artist. Unlike some of her contemporaries who craft music by committee or with Sheeran-like self-importance, Hatchie is as of now, unsullied by the pressures of the cookie-cutter pop machine. Hatchie’s debut full length is a showcase for a talent who is supremely confident and composed in her abilities, and Keepsake is musical luminescence that can only be described as music written for the stars. The album is also a wonderful throwback to pop’s dreamy 60s influences that shuffle in and out of this delirium while working alongside distinctly more current musical touches.
There is the lush dream pop sounds of “Without a Blush”, taking cues from the best of what Stars and Goldfrapp conjure but heaping a tonne of Pilbeam’s charisma on it. Like her vocals, “Without a Blush” has this elegance that has the ability to elevate songs from being beautiful to grand. It is the kind of vocal elegance that really shines through on songs like the skittering, beat-driven “Obsessed” and the alternative, guitar-fuelled (yay!) “When I Get Out”. Indie/electronic closer “Keep” is a wonderful end to proceedings.
However, the great strength of Keepsake is not just its composure in how all the songs have been put together. It is also this genuine, natural-sounding quality that permeates the album- nothing overly written, overly produced or put together by research groups or music analysts. It just sounds like talent. We can argue that much of pop music is constructed to appease the moment- designed to grab as much attention as possible in an A.D.D. world. And sure, that can be said about almost any kind of music, but the resulting aural tone of Keepsake is anything but transient or transparent.
The best way to combat tepid chart-topping music is to write better pop songs. Songs like “Her Own Heart” and the disco-toned “Stay” are examples of pop music that come across as timeless. We are moved by the songs found on Keepsake when we listen to them today. And I suspect that in 10 years time, or in 20, we will most likely feel the same. It is rare to find the sort of ageless beauty you find on Keepsake.