In Pieces

In Pieces

Learning to Accept Silence

Escape Artist

Hardcore is not a style of music readily accessible to outside listeners. Having taken the basic rock structure to bare basics — a tightened the rhythm section, angular guitar riffs, and a vocalist that spews bile at a staccato rate — there is little room for ornamentation. It is this streamlined missile, devoid of any artifice or incidental affectation, that levels its listeners. It is not intended to operate at an epic level, but begins and ends before one has suspected what they just witnessed. And while serving cathartically for its listeners, most hardcore bands are torn between the twin pressures of retaining their “roots” — a phenomena that is best exemplified by the retention of formulaic and outdated structures — or the risk of “progressing,” and thereby alienating a band’s staunchest supporters.

I mention this in passing as I attempt to wrap my thoughts around the latest release by In Pieces, a sophisticated hardcore band that welds sonic texture with gut-wrenching screaming to great effect. Yet, theirs is a curious talent that allows them to stretch beyond the tentative grasp of most hardcore bands that seek only to discredit a political environment they fail to understand, or merely grouse about women they will never understand. In Pieces has taken a decidedly different tack, and focus on songs that reflect a bit of understanding and sensitivity, even while singer Scott Gibson is emitting some throat-lacerating vocals. The band remains tight behind them, but they allow the songs’ dexterity and room to breathe instead of rushing through to the end. While at some points the lyrics reflect the post-adolescent excesses of youth, for the most part, they are well-grounded with the music.

There is a specter that lurks over this album, and the specter is evolution. While Learning to Accept Silence may still be only a hardcore album, it demonstrates what a fertile, imaginative, and yes, talented band In Pieces are well on their way to becoming. This is an indispensable purchase for anyone who is a fan of The Promise Ring, Karl Hendricks Trio, or even Rainer Maria.

Escape Artist Records:

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