On The Might Of Princes
The musical equivalent of a latter-day David Lynch movie, On The Might Of Princes (OTMOP) makes Revelation proud with a great debut record that is almost as strangely cerebral as it is listenable; a rare thing for the post-hardcore set indeed.
Atmosphere is the key word here kids, and the air feels awfully thick today. Sirens is a shifting, breathing, ethereal mix of influences, sounding something akin to a prog-rock forklift incapacitating a bus full of jilted emo bands all nervously paging through the latest issue of Metal Edge. The band seems to effortlessly segue between dreamy Hum-inspired post-hardcore, artsy guitar rock (a la Mogwai) and bits and pieces of scattered, brutal aggro that feels a little like the more focused moments of Cave-In’s brilliant Until Your Heart Stops.
Rounding out the business plan for the perfect post-hardcore band is a set of dreamy, downright bizarre lyrics that inspire some great imagery and support the previously mentioned Lynch comparison. On “You Whistle, I’ll Shoot,” singer Jason Rosenthal quips “I’ve got this eviction to stomach / I hope your couch can hold the two of me.” Like Cursive’s Tim Kasher, Rosenthal has one of those great not-so-perfect voices that makes his sometimes off-key delivery all the more powerful, almost touchingly desperate, while the guitars swirl around him creating some sort of fucked-up nexus point of misplaced volatile energy. The sudden break from introspective verse into hard-rockin’ chorus on “Here Come The Sirens” is just the sort of place where you can glimpse something frighteningly beautiful in your peripheral vision, or where you’re just as likely to be tricked into spelunking an endless labyrinth of recursive dumpster logic. It’s that kind of record from beginning to end.
So yeah, it definitely takes a certain mindset to really get into Sirens, a certain patience to listen repeatedly until some sort of deeper personal meaning erupts from what at first might have sounded directionless. But make no mistake, it’s worth the effort. OTMOP is the real thing: an honest, hard-working, mind-altering substance injected through the ears and uncontrollably contagious if untreated. From beginning to end, most definitely one of the best releases you never heard last year, and a band that certainly deserves to be at the forefront of the Next Big Thing. Whatever the hell that means.