Saosin - Saosin (EP) (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Saosin (EP) (2005)


If the "game" is the latest wave of super melodic, emotional post-hardcore, then it's hard to disagree that with the release of 2003's Translating the Name EP, California's Saosin was surely at the top of the game. Anthony Green's magical voice sounded angelic above a perfect mix of melody and complexity, absolutely ridiculous, double bass-led, slick drum work from someone who was literally a former drum tech for Slayer, and dual guitars with just the right touch of metallic energy. Anyone already familiar with all this is also aware of how several months after the EP's release, Green, knowing full well how quickly the band wanted to move forward with things, quit outright, eventually joining up with former members of This Day Forward and Taken in the more Dredg than Glassjaw-influenced Circa Survive. The band sought out a replacement, and reportedly thought Green was playing a joke on the band when samples from eventual pick Cove Reber came in. Since the August 2003 release of the EP, the band has contributed merely two different songs to two different compilations, respectively. Saosin (titled by the band as The Warped Tour EP, but recognized nowhere on the packaging) is the band's first individual release since, but with a grand total of two new songs on the five-track disc.

While the band's debut full-length is still nowhere near completion, Saosin certainly has the makeup of a mere "single" rather than a new EP, as it contains the leadoff track "Bury Your Head," a video for which was made the past year and received decent play on the music channel FUSE, and appeared on this year's volume of the Atticus: Dragging the Lake compilation series. There's two new tracks that follow it, with a live version of "Lost Symphonies" (the studio version of which derives from TtN), and an acoustic version of the lead track to wrap it up.

While Reber's resemblance to Green is indeed rather uncanny, it's more in the sense of a second or third-rate way. His voice is comforting, but hardly within the vast range of Green. Yet, what's sad is that it complements the band's toned-down style just fine; gone is the ridiculous complexity of the percussion, departed are the everchanging riffs from the guitarists, and nearly completely lost are the fantastic buildups the band used to execute so well. In its place of each are some rather straightforward, modern emocore tracks like "I Wanna Hear Another Fast Song," which, while isn't a terrible song alone, is merely mildly catchy and a bit unassuming with its chorus of "we seem so far away from these things we used to know," which is possibly the most appropriately worded lyric the band's written yet (although the line "we seem so far away from everything new" either grasps its hand or takes up the other end of that spectrum depending on your perspective). Rarely do tempos change in this song, if at all, and the breakdown is rather uneventful with Reber moaning "all we are is no one," wrapping up with an abrupt riff and double-drum bass combo. The complaints with the song could be the same said for "New Angel," which is slower-paced and even less compelling as a result.

Anyone familiar with the bonus disc that accompanied a limited number of TtN copies knows how well the band's songs translate to the acoustic setting. Here, "Bury Your Dead" is given that treatment with practically the same production style, seemingly trying to recreate how great the past efforts were. For the first few listens, it works, and how. Reber's voice sounds much more powerful than usual, and the crisp plucks of the acoustic fill the song rather well. Given some repeated spins, the track seems to drag towards its end without any sort of massive peak to ever really hit.

If the new songs offered up on Saosin were in fact B-sides, I doubt we'd hear much of a complaint from fans. However, if these are the standout results of their work post-"translation" more or less, then come the release of the band's debut full-length on Capitol in early 2006, we'll likely be left desiring foreign sounds.

Bury Your Head