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JR Ewing: Maelstrom *

Album Reviews:

Alternative Press (p.208) - "MAELSTROM burns brightly with charisma and energy, making it the band's most aggressive album, even as it flirts with astounding accessibility."

Album Notes

Post-hardcore is one of those musical terms that no one really understands, but no one is willing to admit that they don't understand, because seriously, how hip can you be? Here's what it means: post-hardcore means the guitars are very loud and there's some screaming, but there's also melody, and echo, maybe a touch of math rock, and -- if you're in luck -- some handclaps on the chorus. Also, the singer might have facial hair. Of course, all of those elements may not be present on every post-hardcore album, but they're all over the place on the latest from Norway's JR Ewing. The math rock kicks in early with the alternating four/four and six/four intro to "Change Is Nothing (Everything Is)" but then it fades to the background and keeps a low profile for most of the program, until it shows up again near the end on "I'm Sorry, You're Sorry, We're All Sorry." Throughout most of the album, though, the sonic space is mainly taken up by sharp yet atmospheric guitars which chime and sing as often as they screech, especially on the hard-but-pretty "Pitch Black Blonde." And yes, there are melodies -- Maelstrom isn't exactly a hookfest, but there are plenty of choruses that you'll be able to sing along with after one or two listens, and on several tracks you'll want to. The handclaps show up on "Take a Hint." Very nice. ~ Rick Anderson


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