A good friend of mine, whose opinion on music I trust and respect, beseeched me to listen to the newest Coheed & Cambria album, the name of which I do not feel like looking up and typing because it is long. The reason I was asked to listen to the album is because my friend knows that I really despise Coheed & Cambria. He had very good things to say about the record and said that he thought I would really enjoy it, and that the band had made strides on this album.
He burned me a copy. I listened. I was left with the same sense of underwhelment and annoyance that everything else I had heard by them had left me with.
First of all, this album sounds like the watered down, bastard child of Incubus’ “Morning View” and The Mars Volta’s “Deloused in the Comatorium.” The problem arises when the band lacks the songwriting craftsmanship of Incubs and the creative experimentation and talent of The Mars Volta. Coheed’s latest effort toes the lines that divide progressive rock from commercial hardcore and punk from commercial pop. Unfortunately, the group refuses to commit to anything too risky and, instead, spin their wheels in the increasingly widening spectrum of meaningless and formulaic indie-pop-screamo-whatever. After a full listen, I have determined that this band had either convinced me that they are more talented than they actually are, or they, instead, are wasting their talent on a mammoth scale.
Let’s just get the whole “his voice” issue out of the way. First off, I don’t think he has a bad voice. He is, however, a terrible singer. He sounds borderline asthmatic. It is as if he recorded all his vocal tracks while running on a treadmill. I don’t want to listen to this douchebag inhale for 40 minutes. You’ve got a commanding and unique voice…USE IT. Hold some notes. Put your diaphragm into it. Furthermore, the vocal harmonies are just awful and sound like they were just done at the last minute through an octave pedal. There is no depth. Bad. Balance out that high pitch with something a little lower. Do something dynamic.
The music itself is unthreatening and passable, but falls short of both “interesting” and “good.” They brutally shift between quiet and loud like every other band that is popular right now. In a prison cell somewhere, Phil Spector is weeping at the continued bastardization of the “wall of sound.” One positive note is the inclusion of guitar solos. While the guitar player(s) in this band is not exactly gunning for the title of World’s Greatest Guitar Player, it is nice to hear someone put forth the effort in a genre that is not exactly known for creativity and improvisation.
I would prefer it if this band tried not to spray to all fields. They could be a moderately enjoyable/successful progressive rock band if they would ditch the hoaky punk efforts, and they could probably be an overwhelmingly successful, popular and intolerable punk band if they would stop trying to be “avant garde” just for contrarian sake.
If I had to give this album a number rating, it would be a sideways numeral 8 because I am officially infinitely indifferent to this group and their music, who, if I recall correctly, was correctly referred to as ‘aural sewage’ by a friend of mine who is much smarter in music than me.
Nice try, guys. Better than My Chemical Romance, I guess.