Pianos Become The Teeth - The Lack Long After (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Pianos Become The Teeth

The Lack Long After (2011)

TopShelf Records

It's been a while since I got an album to move me like the days of listening to Drive Like Jehu and At The Drive In. A lesson learned? Ask and ye shall receive.

"Good Times" imparts itself as a stunning opener that really gets you thinking "Wow...these guys are gonna top Old Pride?" Kyle Durfey's style hasn't wavered and the band's essence that renders them the epitome of screamo is well accentuated here. They ideally show what a proper screamo band needs to dissipate--unbridled passion, a raw dilemma of harmony and cutting loose with no holding back; simply, a vibe that courses through your veins at top speeds which are punctuated by the coarse angst and pure honesty of Durfey. This truth he sings is golden.

"I'll Be Damned" is majestic and vociferous in its own strength and pure emotion. This standout track converges a sound that's marvelously fed to your ears with a resounding tone and screamo splendor that made me feel so dismayed that I'll probably never leave the Caribbean to see them live. God... that would be such an experience hearing Kyle sing "If you saw yours, then I'll see mine / You finally stretched your feet and ghosted away from me / You had to fade away, you had to leave / I'm pleading for one more time with what I know now". There's a feel here also akin to Envy and Fear Before the March of Flames that resonates smoothly under the thrashing cymbals of David Haik and slithery guitarwork by Chad and Mike. The intricacy and arrangement of the setup makes indelible a record here.

The album kickstarts so well and never lets up. This continuity is rare on a lot of screamo albums but whatever these guys do, it just works so friggin' well. "I'll Get By" and "Shared Bodies" envelope a dissonant image and dystopian setting, yet the band wipes the gloom away. The driving sound with Kyle's freedom on that mic is something fresh. And by fresh, I mean, it just wipes away all pretender screamo albums that try to stick around. How can such a distorted and vicious flow of music be so soothing? How can the turbulence they translate be so laminar and so well-received by a listener? They have the remedial measures for the screamo bands that just don't cut it. Make an appointment with this band ASAP. To break down inner anguish and internal viscosity with something so pure, incoherent yet elegant is a gift which this band uniquely sprawls on the listener.

"Spine" symbolizes the fact that the fearlessness and "don't give a damn attitude" of the guys are all part and parcel of their violent grace. Like them or not, this is in your face. This song sums up the heart and soul of Kyle, and it's moving--"I watched her crawl in bed with you / I watched her wet your lips and couldn't do a Goddamned thing / I watched you shake, I watched our hearts break." It was such a crucial move for them to take liberty to the fullest extent and top Old Pride, but they did it swimmingly. They did this act with deft skill and apt confidence. Yes, this is what screamo should be. It's a magical convulsion and yes, a fine stroke of genius. Don't miss out on the heartfelt honesty... just don't. This record really captures something that is rare today. Prepare yourselves, it is that good.