Emanuel - Soundtrack To A Headrush (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Soundtrack To A Headrush (2005)


This Louisville, Kentucky foursome got signed to Vagrant late 2004, and I have no clue about their 7-year history, but I have a pretty good idea what the future has in store for them. I'm pretty sure that this band will end up being one of the revelations in 2005 for anyone who's into powerful yet melodic and heartfelt rock. I intentionally don't use the words punk rock, because I actually consider this music to be the new popular indie rock of this era, which I consider to have become a bit heavier than it used to be. I feel the last couple months/years there's a distinct evolution from emo-rocking bands towards a more edgy rock sound, often topped with screams.

Emanuel definitely has that "edgy" and "screamery" sound all through this disc with very intense guitars and drums, but also with a singer that succeeds very well in blowing up this already energetic music with a determined voice that switches well between the more clean, melodic parts and the screams that for once sound very well at place. The starting track "The Hey Man" (including a very danceable breakdown) is without a doubt the best song on the disc, setting the tone for many good ones to follow; "You Can't Rape The Willing," the title track and "The New Violence" being exceptionally good energetic songs as well, while a song like "Breathe Underwater" is brilliantly executed melodic rock. Occasionally the pace drops a few steps, like in "Make Tonight," which reminded me of too many boring CDs I've been listening to lately that try to build up tension towards the end of a song. And for some of you out there, the band might lean a bit too much towards arena rock bands, but maybe that's only due to the slick production that comes with it. In fact, I find it very hard to determine where this band really belongs. It sure as hell has little to do with Fat Wreck skate punk, because it sounds too much plain-rock for that, which might be the same reason why it doesn't really belong to the screamo bands either, and it's nowhere near emo either because there's no tearjerkers on here. At times I sensed a little bit of Faith No More's more energetic endeavours, but then again the music is too hard to make that comparison either. Maybe a glimpse of more grungy or even metal bands can be found here, but there's surely too much pumping and thundering guitars to try to look at it from that side. Looking at it more contemporary, maybe Billy Talent melodics mixed with some the Bronx adrenaline and Hives rock'n'roll would be a somewhat poor effort to describe their music.

Fact is that this release pleased me very much, and although I didn't really experience it as a sound I never heard before, it succeeds well in using good elements of different genres to meld it into something that is quite new and different like anything I've listened to (especially from Vagrant) recently. Try out this release and discover a band that with some luck and help might be getting far.