by: Chasing Victory

When lead singer Adam Harrell switches from screaming to singing on "King of the Carp," this album's opening track, his voice evokes no one so much as John Lydon, and it's a curious moment: screamo bands are usually more about conspicuous anguish than sharp, nasal vituperation. But if one thing is clear on Fiends, it's the fact that Chasing Victory are determined to leave screamo behind -- not without a backward glance now and then (there's still a fair amount of screaming, for those who need to be weaned gradually), but with clear determination. And good for them. The tight harmonies and the cathartic chorus on "King of the Carp" nicely counterbalance the yelling during the verses, and when things veer between screamo and meat-and-potatoes rock on "Rapture Raptors" the effect of the juxtaposition is as powerful as the song itself. Elsewhere they venture even further afield, flirting at one point with junglism (check out the double-speed drumming on "Dr. Jekyll/Stephen Hyde") and bringing in horns on "G.O.B. vs Tony Wonder." Not everything works, of course. "Oceans Away the Sequel" just sounds silly, which would be OK if it weren't so obvious that they were trying for serious, and on "Miaminions" they actually go down on their knees to rhyme with "please". In the first couplet. Not OK, guys. But their sound is getting increasingly better, and there's reason to hope the lyrics will catch up soon. Keep an eye on this band. ~ Rick Anderson

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