Sincere Engineer - Rhombithian (Cover Artwork)

Sincere Engineer

Rhombithian (2017)

Red Scare

Sincere Engineers Rhombithian is an excellent debut. The album strikes an interesting balance between the gruff melodic punk you'd expect from a Red Scare artist and the sonic complexity of the emo revival genre. The album's strongest point is that complexity. It imbues the album's best songs with a uniqueness that sets them apart and pulls the listener in. From the interesting guitar and drum pattern in the second verse of "Ceramic Tile" to the brief riff that leads into the hectic conclusion of "Overbite" to the Tiny Moving Parts-esque riff that drives beneath and compliments "Here's Your Two Dollars", Rhombithian is filled with interesting touches that stand out without distracting from the energy and emotion. Buoyed by a great mix, providing clarity without feeling too overproduced, you can get lost in these little masterful touches.

But great composition isn't all the album provides. Deanna Belos's lyrics are emotional and relatable. The album isn't the most thematically complex, but you won't care because it packs a punch where it counts. It's hard not to identify with the feeling behind "I watched the clouds roll in/ and you're not far/ but you're so distant" ("Here's Your Two Dollars") or "I kept thinking things would get easier/ I kept thinking I would get better" ("Overbite", my personal favorite). Choruses on the album are particularly strong, with Belos's strong vocals driving them home with gusto. Sing along opportunities abound and after a few listens you'll find yourself pulled in. 

The album's main weakness is that it's front-loaded. The faster driving songs in the first half give way to more mid-tempo affairs in the second half. These songs retain the same excellent composition, with plenty of instrumental flourishes, but they may feel weaker to those who prefer the first half. Indie influences are more apparent in the latter half in songs like "Let You Down" but these songs still feel coherent with the rest of the album. The acoustic closer "Ghosts in the Graveyard" finishes the album off on a high point, showing off Sincere Engineer's folk-punk roots. 

Overall Rhombithian is a strong album that I think is one of the best of the year. It's interesting, emotional, energetic, and provides some melodic punk gems that will get stuck in your head (and you won't mind). It's an especially impressive achievement for a debut full-length.