Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Emanuel and the Fear - Listen (2010.) [2.0]

Track Listing
1. The Introduction 2:12
2. Guatemala 3:38
3. Ariel And The River 5:25
4. Jimme's Song (Full Band Version) 5:24
5. Duckies 0:16
6. Free Life 3:52
7. Dear Friend 4:18
8. Yo, Jåmin 0:31
9. Trucker Lovesong 5:40
10. Baclony 6:44
11. Whatever You Do 4:08
12. Bridges And Ladies 0:16
13. The Raiman 5:13
14. Same Way 3:33
15. Simple Eyes 4:03
16. Song For A Girl 3:34
17. The Finale 5:47
18. Look Ma, The Walls Are Moving! 0:23
19. Razzmatazz 3:49


I've now gone through this record at least 4 full times and my thoughts about it are this.

It's best songs are really awesome.The opening 4 tracks/suite "The Introduction/Guatemala/Ariel and the River/Jimme's Song" work exceptionally well. The chamber element in Guatemala is great. The interplay that includes a flute solo almost does remind me of Jethro Tull. "Jimme's Song" is the album's biggest highlight for me. The gradual build of the theme between instruments and especially the vocal chorus never leaves my head.

"I don't want to do nothing but be in a rock band. I don't wanna get a job, I don't wanna be a man."

The way the fat synths come in there and begin repeating is unforgettable. The "indietronica" part if you will. Apes and Androids could have written that part.

As the rest of this album continues, there are some short sound-bytes or movements along with some more thematic tracks. "Dear Friend" certainly stands out, even if it does sound lifted from some musical on Broadway.

"I see all the people passing by..and I smile to myself, in the most peculiar wayyy ...walking along singing a tune for all the people passing by..I was smiling in the most peculiar way, feeling happy. something I'd never thought I'd say."

The arrangement is very show-tuney, but it's rather catchy no matter. And I enjoy the horn and other chamber parts of it.

From the 10th track "Balcony" to the 15th track "Simple Eyes" I'm luke warm about. "Song For a Girl" I am enjoying more now, due to not having issue with the female singer or the dialog vocals. The outro especially really works and leads well into "The Finale" which is probably the most overt prog rock or just *technical* this record becomes. Intricate phrasing. Some chromatic work on it, almost sounds like Elton John's "Funeral For a Friend" or even a classical influence (Beethoven?). It's a rather grandiose and bombastic way to come down the stretch, but it never comes across as pretentious to me.

The last 2 tracks "Look Ma, The Walls Are Moving" and especially "Razzmatazz" are remotely interesting for the story I guess, but the truth is, I'm not sure how many times I'm going to want to hear the dark comedic attempt. "It's a beehive!!!"
That I guess along with a few other moments prevent this album from being really great, maybe partially I find it lacks some cohesiveness that could help it all the way through..

But for a debut album, this is still pretty impressive and actually somewhat original approach to a Rock Opera. I'm not sure there's a band who sounds exactly like these guys. You could compare them to Apes and Androids or someone like Arcade Fire in their wall of sound. The Dear Hunter or Gavin Castleton's "Home" also might be somewhat reasonable comparisons, but there's still a lot of differences to their writing approach.

I just hope they can continue on forward here, because based on a lot of the songwriting and musicianship, they have a lot of talent and could make a lot more music, probably even better than this.


I need to also include something here. They posted these outrageously funny promotional videos on youtube for their debut ep last year.