Gracer - Voices Travel (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Voices Travel (2006)


There only so many ways to emphasize how intense and dynamic a band is, and I'm sure those attempting to make that distinction with On the Might of Princes were quite often stumped. That's why Gracer creates such an interesting juxtaposition; featuring ex-OTMOP drummer Chris Enriquez in his newest project, Gracer instead propose reserved, super dreamy indie/emo compositions Elliott fans would be hard-pressed to not enjoy.

Drawing from that vein of blood as well as a smaller one connected to Sunny Day Real Estate's Diary, the band offers a variety of moods despite its usual snail crawl. The standout here is the absolutely beautiful, delicate "Emily Taylor," where Enriquez's angelic voice firmly pleads throughout; "You just looked at me and I said 'Get up on your feet and we'll run...' / Anywhere and never lose hope / I'm on my way to see the world / I'll follow all the way around now." Things get somber with the followup, "Esperanza," but a return to the carefully hopeful affections help create another one of the better tracks on Voices Travel, "One Thousand Souls." Another flip of the moods then immediately occurs with the acoustic, heart-wrenching "Hands," sure to elicit some hard swallowing. "Be Still" is ambient bliss á la the ever-namedropped Sigur Rós, climaxing in a powerful swirl of noises and prettily clashing sounds. Vocalist Ryan Mahon gives off momentary Jesse Lacey vibes on closer "The Night Sky," speaking from the context of the most drawn out, experimental tracks of Brand New's leaked demos.

The major problem is that save for the aforementioned "Emily Taylor," none of the tracks are near as compelling as Elliott's stronger material ("Drive Onto Me," "Blessed by Your Own Ghost"). Much of Gracer's songs never quite surpass their descriptive vibe, sauntering through its atmospheres without ever quite shaking the listener out of their sleep. It's like taking a 45-minute vacation in Heaven but never really getting out of the hotel room.

Voices Travel is still an enjoyable early morning listen and throwback to when emo could be quite literal. I can see Gracer strengthening their songwriting chops in the near future to write some assuredly epic jams that could put the listener into sleep paralysis only to jolt them right out. But right now, that's a scary position to be in and one I can't yet rely on Gracer to consistently wake me out of.

Emily Taylor
Waiting for Departures