The Consolation of Pianissimo
I had no idea what to expect with this disc, and as the sloppy distortion
of the first track filled my headphones my hopes dropped. "Great,"
I thought, "another talentless 'alternative' band that thinks just because
it knows a few chords...." But oh, how quickly was I proved wrong!
Strains of melody crept in and then took over, mellow clean-tone guitars
sang in sweet contrast to more aggro rhythm guitars. Then on the
second track, "Behind Doors," the vocalist really began to show his stuff,
giving off passionate vibes reminiscent of Bono of U2.
rule by your own way that's how we play
gee peter pan I'm really glad to meet you
but I can't be a man here in never never land
all day flying in circles not much to speak of
I've been ignorant living in a fairy tale
but there's no fantasy when I call out your name
only reality Jesus the same
but some could see he was wise
no beggar was this man
he said he came to give life
oh in a circus show they might have let it slide
but now they give him threats
they say he'll have to die
oh this travelin' man all he ever wanted was a bride
The CD booklet has Revelation 2:2-7 printed inside (which explains where the band's name comes from), the words of Christ to the church at Ephesus, about how he knows of their works and endurance for his sake but that they've left behind their original love for him, and how they need to repent. I interpreted this as a message that perhaps the American church needs to hear as well. Pretty cool.
If you're wise enough to get this album, make sure you don't miss the two hidden tracks at the end (making for a total of 14 songs on the album), especially the last one. It's a sloppy garage tune with lyrics "We're going to rock the heck out of you, if there's one thing we came to do, we're going to rock the stuff out of you." I think maybe it's an inside joke tune for some friends of theirs, but I thought it was a refreshing contrast to the prevailing sadness and seriousness of the rest of the album (which eventually did get tiresome).
After listening to Dear Ephesus's full length debut many times, I've realized that it is the first emo-core album I have really liked. I haven't been able to get into this style of indie alternative rock before, but this one does the trick for me--mixing and matching style and substance with folks like Jeremy Enigk/Sunny Day Real Estate, Kevin Clay/My Little Dog China, Four Living Creatures/Sweet Nectar, Smashing Pumpkins, Luxury, Roadside Monument, Joe Christmas (maybe), Pedro the Lion, etc.--producing something unique that captures the best of that genre's aggression, beauty, power, melody, poetry, pain, and emotion. This is a complete package.-----Josh Spencer
We don't have many bands like this in the UK. Alternative rock here is still suffering under the weight of brit-pop and brit-rock sounds, and for anything more "alternative" you have to turn to the upsurge of metal bands in the underground. With this album we get passionate vocals, interesting guitar lines, and lots of distortion -- I'm told they call it emo.
Lyrically and musically this album has a dark feel, but struggles are accompanied by hope ("all the while there's a symphony on the music box/ as I sit behind the keys of my player piano I cry/and in a while face a man behind a child/and suddenly it hits me you're with me/I care" from "Player Piano"). I can't make up my mind as to which track is my favourite, but "The Flight of Peter Pan" sticks with me for its many meanings hidden within (J. M. Barrie fans might take exception of course), and I enjoyed the more laidback but still passionate "Player Piano" (quoted above).
For me, this album was a refreshing change, and I look forward to hearing more from the band.-----James Stewart