Emery – …In Shallow Seas We Sail

cover-1Artist: Emery
Album: In Shallow Seas We Sail
Genre: Post-Hardcore
Label: Tooth and Nail

Like many Emery fans, I was turned off by the band’s previous release, I’m Only A Man. So, to put it lightly, I was cautious about hearing their new full length, however I did have some hope thanks to the excellent Ep they release last year. Now, 3 weeks later, I’m wearing a smile because the boys in Emery have not only repositioned their career, but taken it to the next level.

Starting out like a cartridge leaving a shotgun, “Cutthroat Collapse,” brings us the first display of the band’s reignited passion for a heavier sound. This is where we learn the whole album is everything about Emery we have loved, but with some extra chugs. The screams are deeper and the guitar crunchier, it’s awesome. “Inside Our Skin” gives us a much more Question era Emery track that radiates radio appeal. Having talked to the band, I know now they were trying to capture that youthful excitement of the first two records, so hearing that sound right off the back says “mission accomplished” to me. There’s some real production skill on “Curbisde Goodbyes” as well as “A Sin To Hold On To” That make the tracks leap off the page and strike you – hard. Where the last album was a bit more loose, this one screams polished, but with a focus on making it sound raw and powerful. In addition to this, there’s some true power in the structure and writing of “Piggy Bank Lies.” This may be the best song Emery has written in 4 years. No lie. Every bar resonates emotional intensity while changing up styles and time signatures multiple times. It’s a true track of real power and soul.

There are few problems that I have with the record, but mainly they involve two tracks. “In Shallow Seas We Sail,” from start to finish, sounds completely like something we’ve heard before. This isn’t the band paying homage or trying to recapture a sound, but rather a group relabeling something that worked in the past. The other problem, though an overly critical one, is the appearance of songs from the EP. This annoys me to no end because those true fans are buying the same thing twice and that’s not right, but at least they’re great tracks.

In the end, it’s near unnecessary to say, but EMERY IS BACK. In Shallow Seas We Sail is possibly the best record they’ve made to date and instantly on our albums of the year list. It’s the record to reinforce the die hard fans and bring in thousands of new fans. It’s raw, yet polished and finely tuned to be a perfect combination of pop and heavy rock. Buy it. In fact, buy two and give a stranger the perfect summer rock soundtrack.

Score: 9/10

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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