Firescape - Rearden's Conscience (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Rearden's Conscience (2005)

Random Play

It's necessary that certain things in life follow formulas. Quadratic equations, most anything relating to physics or chemistry, and even more unfortunate than math and science: when bands strictly follow a certain formula musically. Not every band has the talent to try something truly ambitious, and that's for the better, but there's something so unsettling about a band who obviously puts little effort into the creative process of making an album. Firescape is one such band, and Rearden's Conscience is the unfortunate example of what happens when a band is afraid to take chances.

"Parker Peterson" starts out with the same melodic clean guitar line that I'm sure everyone has heard from 1,000 other bands, and stays just about as boring throughout the rest of the song's duration. It doesn't sound bad, but it's just so damn unoriginal that it loses all merit, and the back-and-forth between two chords guitar work during the verses borders on laughable. The second song, "His Midas Touch" provides just as bland and overdone guitar work as the last song, only this time using some distortion effects for the verses, but still not striving for anything above two chord switching. Are these guys honestly trying here?

The guitar work in "Postcards With A Hidden Meaning" are pretty catchy, I'll admit, as is the song's chorus. The vocals here really remind me of No Motiv, with the upbeat, catchy hooks and engaging musicianship. This is the only point on the album where that can be said, however. After this song, it goes back to being the very same bland, boring style that was started throughout the first few songs.

The EP's last track is essentially the token acoustic song, "Wasted." This song is the equivalent of that little cousin we all have who tells you the same story of how he scraped his knee falling off his bike every time he sees you. It's nice to listen and be attentive at first, but by the third or fourth time you hear that story, you just want to choke the kid. Well, this song isn't any different. It more or less sounds like same chord is being lightly strummed for the entire painful 4 minutes and 4 seconds. And then there's the lyrics, if that's what the poetry your 4th grade boy or girlfriend wrote for you can be construed as.

I wouldn't make as much of a point to call the band out on this, but the press sheet, besides mentioning this band has members of Something Corporate, feels it a good idea to say "a drive that is fueled by lyrical depth..." This isn't the deep end of the pool, this is the wading pool. Again, "Wasted" is prime example of this lyrical garbage; "And I'm so wasted, I have pasted my heart on my sleeve / And I'm so wasted, but I still taste this more than you believe /.../ If you think you've got me figure you've got me figured wrong, cause later I will miss you on the telephone." Yeah, that's depth if I've ever seen it. Half the time I can already tell what the second half of the line will be by the first, without having ever heard the rest of the song. That shouldn't happen. It's all so predictable...rhyming in the same places, bad lyrics about broken hearts in the same place; it couldn't be more contrived.

The only saving grace this album can claim is that the vocals are decent. Decent, at best. The singer can carry a good melody, and there seems to be some strength in his voice, but it's not distinct whatsoever, and could easily be lost in the shuffle with 100 other similar bands. That's as close to a redeeming quality as you're going to find here, with the lyrics and musicianship being borderline abysmal. The press sheet also compares them to Elliott Smith, which put an awful taste in my mouth that this garbage would be mentioned in the same press sheet as an amazing artist like Elliott Smith. I'd stay stick to playing in Something Corporate, but that's not really much of a step up. Pass on this.