Saboteur / The Mockingbird Nightmare / Red Light Green Light - Split (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Saboteur / The Mockingbird Nightmare / Red Light Green Light

Split (2007)


Engineer Records' long-awaited three-way split is finally upon us in the form of a tidy, 10-song full-length, and gives us nice introductions to three more obscure bands of a fairly distinct variety.

Saboteur are up first and usher things in solidly with Burning Airlines-styled post-hardcore / indie rock. While I'm only familiar with two of the three, if that comparison isn't good enough I'm sure you can get a good idea of what Saboteur bring to the table by glancing at their alumni list: Red Animal War, Slowride and the Numbers Twist. Saboteur rely on crunchy, thudding guitars and a keen sense of melody, hardly going overboard with the discordance and angularity, but instead striking a nice balance between the straightforward and experimental, albeit one that leans towards the former. "Bitchin' Into Oblivion" breaks out a great, barely repeated chorus that makes it the standout of their three.

Next is the Mockingbird Nightmare who squeak out a victory here, if there is one to be had. In "You Can Keep All the Prizes...," they're a little hyper and all about quick, jagged riffs and jumpy, interlacing vocals, while the band show a little restraint on "Show Me All the Blueprints." Then, "Eleven Eleven" picks it up a tad after the six-minute "Blueprints" with cascading guitars and a more energetic base. No matter what though, I get a bit of an At the Drive-In via in/CASINO/OUT vibe, and that's a great foundation to build upon considering this is one of their first batches of recorded output.

Unfortunately, Red Light Green Light (ex-Hidden in Plain View) ends it on a bit of a sour note. Vocalist Derek Reilly sounds just like an annoying version of Trophy Scars' Jerry Jones while his brother Alex practically sleeps on the keyboard and some token backup screams are thrown in; sometimes a breakdown makes an appearance. "Cliché College Whit, More or Less" has a nicely energetic flow about it, but with its crapshoot of odious traits just comes off like a mess. More often than not Red Light Green Light simply sound like a faster, nauseating Chiodos (or for many of you, more nauseating).

It's like Meatloaf said: "Two out of three ain't bad."

Saboteur - This Is a Bike Crime
Saboteur - Bitchin' Into Oblivion
The Mockingbird Nightmare - Show Me All the Blueprints

The Mockingbird Nightmare - Eleven Eleven
Red Light Green Light - Cliché College Whit, More or Less
Red Light Green Light - Straight on 'Til Normal