Release DetailsLABEL Equal Vision
RELEASED ON 4/3/2007
posted on 7/2007 By:
After years of intensive research in cooperation with the Metal Review Study Team (two hundred easily antagonized monkeys chained to one hundred desks), we’ve plotted all the variables and have decided that, blast beat please, some bands/labels/PR firms don’t take into account that this is METAL Review and thus send us something that will cause extreme violence, projectile vomiting, and bad spelling among the lashers (The answers “need bananas,” "free us," and the complete works of Shakespeare were close). At least, when I nervously rock myself to sleep at night, that’s what I’ll repeat over and over again to ease my mind because the other alternatives are far too scary. Horrific sample example: Someone might’ve thought that a group of us (those who will only buy an album if a bonesaw is incorporated into the cover art, mind you) would want to try and broaden our musical horizons with a dull modern rawk album; a safe, predictable, edgeless modern rock album from the “Huh, where’d their hardcore roster go?” Equal Vision label, no less. But, hey, we’re Metal Review, the site that will review anything that is sent to us. Hell, even if a newborn baby appeared on our doorstep, I’m sure we’d give it a once over (“Sounds and looks like a billion babies that have come before it. 3/3/3”) before tossing it in the backyard promo crater like a music-obsessed version of 300. So, with that in mind and with the study monkeys flinging poo, a chorus of alt+f4s steadily growing in the background, and the Oracles of Modern Rawk telling us to give this a chance, join me as we explore Olympia’s Emergencies.
Right off the bat, I can tell you that the most interesting thing about Olympia is that they hail from D.C., which enables narcissistic bastards like me to regale you with stories about the time they first heard Jawbox or how The Dismemberment Plan changed their lives. Olympia doesn’t bow to the pressure of trying to live up to their legendary forbearers though, content to follow the lead of the thirty-odd Tooth and Nail bands that have been here before. Honestly though, in a musical landscape where a lot of bands are desperately trying (and succeeding) to dig up influences from two decades ago (or more), the fact that Olympia wants to sound like they belong in this era instead of a time traveling Joy Division clone (or, gulp, the legions of ‘70’s “Wooo-man!” wannabes) is refreshing. But, the band struggles to set themselves apart from the rest of the bastardized post-hardcore genre or the other former core acts turned hook hacks.
Thankfully, there’s no screaming, no watered-down breakdowns, and no dopey Chicken Soup for the Tweener Soul poetry. Opener “Chorus! Chorus! Chorus!” sets the blueprint with a driving pace and a fairly predictable rockin' riff (like it was once angular and birthed from a calculator, but now squeaky clean and pop-ready after being sent to the K.I.S.S. dry cleaners). It sort of comes off like a more melodic-minded Boysetsfire with their anthemic qualities sucked out and a wishy-washy hook forced in as a placeholder. In fact, none of the hooks are worthy of toe taps or head smacks (to relieve your brain of the two week old riff cycling through your head, of course), they just kind of float on by, delivered with non-threatening harmonies and without any intensity or, well, life. By the third track, everything starts to run together because Olympia only really has two song types: driving melodic rocker and reflective melodic rocker. Even the throwaway, “Who's Bad Party Time,” their attempt at setting a mood, is rather faceless and the big finisher “Lo, My Name Is Abhorred” is so contrived and anticlimactic, you'd expect it to back the season finale of a hot new Fox drama. It all adds up this: You’ll spend more time trying to find band comparisons, tearing your hair out trying to decide who they sound like (after many listens, I’ve decided, regretfully, Anberlin), instead of actually listening; the predictable fate of any band that hasn't found their own voice.
But, even though it got sent our way (maybe even on purpose), this isn’t really for us, the overly analytical metalhead. It’s the kind of stuff that I can imagine filling high school parking lots as overdramatic teens rush to beat the bell. It’s the kind of album that makes me feel old, makes me feel out of touch for wishing for the lost Miltown album to see the light of day (And I ain't old. Out of touch, maybe). It’s just another disposable modern rock album and, while it might serve that purpose well, it’s hard to think that it will survive long in this current use-once-and-destroy net culture. They just don’t display enough distinguishing traits to tread the pop water and the only sign of urgency they show is in the title. Me thinks you won’t need me and two hundred monkeys to tell you to skip this.
Oh, and the Metal Review Study Team's next project? Trying to count the combined number of comas in my reviews. Yes, we have NASA on speed dial for this.
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