Killing the Dream - Lucky Me (Cover Artwork)

Killing the Dream

Lucky Me (2010)

Deathwish, Inc.

I really liked Killing the Dream's first full-length, In Place Apart. It was just fast and angry hardcore with great production, touches of melody and one of Jake Bannon's best album covers. For their second release, the band had a major lineup change, including the replacement of the main music writer and both guitar players, and the result, Fractures, was a polarizing record with some people loving it and some people left wondering what exactly happened to the band. I found myself in the latter group. The band was definitely trying a different approach and the end product featured slower and looser playing that was clearly influenced by the Modern Life Is War and Life Long Tragedy-esque, desperation-filled approach so popular at that time.

For their third full-length, Lucky Me, the band has managed to keep the same lineup, tried some new things and has shored up some of the missteps on their last release. The band is playing much tighter this time around and has kicked the tempo back up. In many ways, it seems like the band has taken some direction from Defeater by mixing in some post-hardcore riffing and adding elements of storytelling to the lyrics. One thing that has stayed constant throughout their releases is Elijah Horner's vocals. He works his way through his lyrics, starting with a shout and usually building through the end of the line to a scream, not unlike Aaron Bedard of Bane.

Musically, the band is at its best when sticking to its basic hardcore approach: melodic and fast, in the vein of Comeback Kid. However, the band tries a good deal of new things in these seven songs. There are violin interludes, keyboard breaks and extended sections with clean singing. The non-hardcore interludes are interesting, but I'm not convinced that they add too much to the final product. However, I do appreciate the willingness to try new things. The clean-sung sections, however, sound somewhat out of place. It could be the modern-emo style of the vocals or the way it is mixed between screaming parts, but it just doesn't quite work when mixed in with everything else going on. What makes this even more frustrating is that there is one line in the opening track, "Blame the Architects," where Horner adds a melody to his screaming and it sounds great. I wish that if there was more singing, it was that type. However, again I do applaud the band's effort to go beyond what is comfortable and expected.

At seven songs and just under 23 minutes, this is pretty short for a full-length. Another quality track or two might have pushed this release to the next level, but hardcore albums really shouldn't break 30 minutes anyway, so I don't think it is too big of a deal. Fans of Defeater, KtD's last album, and Comeback Kid will likely enjoy this release as it is well-performed, sounds great sonically, and offers an interesting take on modern hardcore.