While Anthony Green left Saosin and would go on to form Circa Survive, Saosin found another talented vocalist to fill the void left by Green. And that replacement, Cove Reber, easily lifts the band out of the potential pit-fall of being labeled off as just another emo band. While Reber's singing occasionally sounds extremely similar to 30 Second to Mars vocalist Jared Leto, Reber completely nails his notes, and his dynamic and emotional voice is quite impressive. However, it's not just the vocals that make an album, and Saosin manage to keep themselves at least one step ahead of the game with some stronger melodies and efficient songwriting.
"It's Far Better to Learn" starts off their debut full-length in a questionable manner. While it does bring notice to Reber's outstanding vocals and some solid guitar harmonies, the song is rather a preview of what's to come as it's one of the few lacking songs, though some guitar soloing towards the end saves it from being too boring. "Sleepers" and "It's So Simple" establish what Saosin is built around. Almost all of the songs here have a 'ballad' feel to them, even if they aren't exactly ballads. Maybe it's because the songs here are filled with loads of guitar harmonies throughout and the combination of the thriving instrumentals and lush vocals create some of the most memorable choruses to come out of this genre in quite some time.
This also showcases the main problem that hinders this release. While none of the songs showcased here are bad, they all follow the same structure and are made up of the same elements over and over. Sure, these guys can write some killer harmonies and top them with remarkable vocal work, but after awhile it starts to blur together and makes the album become slightly monotonous after awhile. The only variety shown here is the tempo changes between songs, which becomes rather hard to spot as a majority of the choruses still have that tedious feel by the time you get halfway through.
Luckily, the album regains some strength towards the end, with two of the best songs located in the last third of the album. "Collapse" manages to freshen it up a bit with some bass drums in the beginning giving way to gang vocals and a sing-along chorus over some killer guitar melodies. Following is "You're Not Alone," which is the prerequisite ballad that is sure to become a fan favorite. The song is actually highlighted by the lyrics in the chorus: "you're not alone / there's more to this I know / you can make it out / you will live to tell." With all of the negativity surrounding a lot of the lyrics from this genre, it's refreshing that at least some bands are writing positive lyrics to help the next generation try to get through and cope with their problems.
Saosin's first full-length is easily the band's make or break album. It's full of enough guitar harmonies, melodies, and impressive vocal work and balladry, that anyone into any kind of melodic emo/rock music should take notice. However, those wishing for more to come out of these adept musicians will be disappointed in the rather repetitive nature of this release. Even with its flaws, Saosin have managed to craft a strong release that will probably impress its listeners. It's not perfect, but then again, nothing is.
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