If you insist on picture of shorelines, then I insist on pages of your lines / Meant for me, to be sent to me / Remember watching the storms from the lifeguard stand, remember feeling the tingling in my fingertips / When I touch your lips.Those words come from the pen of one Chris Carrabba, of pre-Dashboard fame, as the front man for the short-lived indie rock outfit Further Seems Forever, and "Pictures Of Shorelines" is the song responsible for the lyrics in question. Pictures Of Shorelines is also a band, most surely named after the song, just as was the case for Pretty Girls Make Graves. And as the case with PGMG, Pictures Of Shorelines sound nothing like their inspiration, most notably because Chris Carrabba, arguably, was and is not a female.
The lead singer of this band however, does fit the description of a female, but nowhere throughout the record's twelve songs does she attain the vocal range that Carrabba has always held, coming off what many would consider annoying as the notes shoot upwards on the scales. It's an interesting situation with the singer, as during the more low-tempo moments her voice is soothing with somewhat of an angelic quality to it, but a lot of times the quality suffers when she goes for the higher, soaring notes. Equally confusing is the background screaming that comes completely out of left field every few songs. It doesn't mesh with this style, and could have very easily been left off this album and nobody would have been the wiser. The most puzzling moment of all comes courtesy of "Masquerade," in which the band switches identities with Comeback Kid for about 15 seconds. Forget left field, this didn't even come from the same ballpark. I was honestly scratching my head after that section of the song.
Thankfully, there's no other awkward surprises to be found, assuming you were able to get past what's already been thrown down on the album. You can't blame a band for trying something different, but you can absolutely blame a band for trying to cash into the whole sing/scream trend that Finch brought upon the world.
I wouldn't call the rest of this album "filler," necessarily, but I can't vouch for the number of times where I was all that impressed. When the singer detracts just as much as she gives to the music, it tends to hinder what focus would be in other parts of the album, and that's what happens here. There's some different textures tried out between distorted and clean guitars, fast and slow tempos, but ultimately nothing sticks with you after the last seconds fade out. I won't spend time discussing the lack of merit to be found in the Senses Fail-inspired lyrics, but trust me when I say opening the liner notes of this album is not in your best interests.
Bands named after songs can work quite well (Texas Is The Reason, Paint It Black), or they can fall flat on their faces and disgrace the acts that sprouted them (Interzone, Pictures Of Shorelines). It's the singer's unstable voice that killed this one before it made it out the door, not even the clichés that litter the sidewalk.