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Troubled Coast: LettersLetters (2011)
Reviewer Rating: 3
Contributed by: InaGreendaseBrian
(others by this writer | submit your own)
A short summary of Troubled Coast's early discography: Their first real release, 2009's 100 Miles from Home was a generic slice of modern hardcore, providing 10 tracks in 12 forgettable minutes (but Creator-Destructor packaged it in a pretty 10" format with varying colors). The followup, last year's.
A short summary of Troubled Coast's early discography: Their first real release, 2009's 100 Miles from Home was a generic slice of modern hardcore, providing 10 tracks in 12 forgettable minutes (but Creator-Destructor packaged it in a pretty 10" format with varying colors). The followup, last year's Vagabonds EP, was more thoughtful: The track lengths were doubled; the tones and tempos varied a little more; and something of a post-hardcore element had emerged. But it wielded too much of a craggy, straightforward tilt to really be worthwhile.
After taking all that verbiage to point out the band's acts of plagiarism, it should be stressed that Letters is a good album. Really! This is a promising record that, despite its several instances of comfort lying entirely too close, find a band weaving together a collection of quite varied, curious-sounding takes on mercurial aggression. They perform the sing-scream m.o. with a confounding number of vocal strains and light experimentation and elasticity. Alternative rock/emo melodies infect "Breathing"; circling guitar lines and spoken word set up an interesting intro for "Night Drives"; the first minute of "Absent Father, Holy Ghost" opens slowly and eerily before riffing away into merely okay, melancholic emo rock; a tense build in "A Shallow Place" is clipped by cello strings; and "Feigned Belief" sounds a lot like something off Beloved's Failure On, and that is a fantastic thing. Around the course of the album, mid-period Alexisonfire comes to mind as well.
Troubled Coast have made improvements in inches from one record to the next, and Letters is no exception. If the band can just weed out their tendency to pay tribute so closely, while continuing to improve their own style and songwriting, their 7" debut for Pure Noise should be an easy career high.
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