Still Life – The Incredible Sinking Feeling

Putting this release in perspective is quite difficult seeing as how this band has been churning out releases for over ten years. It would be the equivalent of someone asking you to describe the last ten years of your life and the changes you have made in detail, which would obviously be an impossible thing.

Hailing from middle California, Still Life has garnished quite a reputation with a musical career that puts most bands to shame. This being their third proper full length, I feel the need to give some background on how elusive this band is. I, being from the state, have only seen this band twice over a ten year span. It is quite alarming since I do go to a ridiculous amount of shows. So by default I should have seen them at least four or five times. All mysteries aside, their camp was silent for quite some time which led everyone to believe they had unofficially disbanded with little fanfare.

Some hail this three piece band as a cultural milestone in the “emo” movement. They’ve been around since day one and have previously done time on the road with Cursive, Braid and Boilermaker. How all of this adds up is still yet to be determined but as far as the music goes on The Incredible Sinking Feeling, it lacks any real intensity and spends too much time focusing on their quirks than actual songwriting. Sure they can go from quiet to loud in a heartbeat (which is apparently what they “invented”) but their transitions lack any sort of cohesion. Playing their instruments is not a problem as they do that quite proficiently, but the vocals on the other hand sound very forced and unnatural, almost as if they are trying to be too “quirky.”

Having low expectations going into a release can sometimes be a good thing. Having a robust history within the scene can help as well, but unfortunately all it does for The Incredible Sinking Feeling is make it sound like a cheap version of what their earlier work hinted at (which I enjoy mind you). This looks great on paper, but fails in reality.

(Greyday Records)