So I took a jazz history classâ?¦bear with me here. As I was saying, I took a jazz history class about a semester ago, and part of the class requirement was writing a review of a jazz release from a musician's standpoint every week. Now, I've been in bands for almost as long as I haven't been, but I'm not a musical virtuoso and I know next to nothing about jazz. So every week I would take the same four or five musical phrases and combine them with adjectives like good, great, excellent, terrible, etc.
This is kind of how I'm starting to feel about the last batch of Bridge Nine releases. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, because I will admit I enjoy the whole youth crew revival thing they seem to be going for. Yet, it seems like when reviewing this stuff you could plug in the words 'breakdown,' 'sing-along,' 'old-school' / 'mid-`90s,' or 'gang vocals' at random intervals and have a pretty accurate review.
That being said, let me start by emphasizing the positive of the Miles Away release, Consequences. The guitar hooks are where it's at. There's a lot of really crunchy stuff, and an even amount of building lead parts which gets the blood pumping in a quick fashion. Listen to the song "Yours Sincerely" and see if you aren't bouncing around, looking for a crowd of people to pile on top of. The drumming isn't anything out of the ordinary and that's a damn good thing for a band like Miles Away. Josh Stuken really knows how to drum to the song, and doesn't fall into the unnecessary over-use of double kick, which is something a lot of modern hardcore bands can't say.
The vocals are about as mediocre as you can get, however. Horsnell's shout is not bad; it's just downright not memorable. I usually love the bands that rely entirely on the heartfelt shout over the mixed screams and what not. However, in the case of Miles Away the vocals just don't do anything for me.
The forgettable vocals get kind of punishing when combined with a really strange mix. Remember when I said the guitar hooks were great? Well, it's too bad you can barely hear them at certain points on the album. The mix also makes the gang vocals occasionally sound like they are coming from some place underground.
I enjoyed this release enough to keep my copy, and I still spin it from time to time, but I really hope these guys get a little bit better production quality on their next release. If they do that and mix up the vocal styling a little bit, Miles Away will be a force to be reckoned with.