Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Album Review: Love American/Harbours - Love American/Harbours Split

Two very promising up and coming acts in the post-harcore/emo scene create a wholly enjoyable and wonderfully satisfying split. Need I say more? Well, unless you aren’t convinced, both Love American and Harbours have spent the better part of the year releasing enticing EP’s, albums, and demos, each being better than the last. Each new recording sees a growth--a maturation of sorts--as both bands discover themselves and what their sound truly is. The Love American/Harbours Split is indicative of this, as the record displays some of either acts best material, as well as giving a glimpse of what’s to come.

Love American begins the first half of the four track split, with their two songs, “Kayfabe” and “Old English Hearts.” For those of you not quite familiar with the band, Love American is a post-hardcore outfit with some very emo sensibilities. Earlier this year they released a little self-titled album that was highly enjoyable, if not slightly unrefined. It had heart and passion which proved to be quite potent in creating an overall great piece of music. Derivative of venerable acts such as The Fall of Troy, Envy, pg. 99, and even Thrice, Love American sound is something both familiar and refreshing. Consisting of five members, Love American creates a very big, bold sound, with the instrumentals coming off as especially excellent. Adam is a skilled guitarist (whom is probably compared to Thomas Erak all too often), while Ryan is pitch perfect on the set. It’s a little disappointing to see that Javier still does not throw a little variety into his vocals, but his powerful and controlled screams are satisfying nonetheless.

On the split, Love American is the same band they were on their debut, albeit a little more tight and cohesive. The two tracks offered ran rather short, but are still effective in showing off a more thoughtful band. “Old English Hearts” in particular stands out as especially excellent, as the emphasis on variation creates a piece that is worth multiple plays. Both songs feature a tighter production, thus giving a “cleaner” sound, all while still retaining a very raw type of aesthetic.

Despite sharing the split with Love American, Harbours is very much a different band. Whilst comparisons are easily made, it’s obvious that Harbours derive their sound from more straightforward “hardcore” acts. Touche Amore, Converge, and other well known bands in the genre can all be heard on their side of the split. With such a great pedigree, it’s easy to see why Harbours definitely succeed in making two excellent pieces of music. They are a bit more established than Love American, as they simply have more material out there. So far this year they’ve released a fine demo, as well as an excellent EP. This split is yet another great release for the band, even if it’s a little too brief.

“Promises” and “Untitled” are two different kinds of beasts when compared to the other two pieces. They’re heavier, denser, and more intense. The two songs hearken back to earlier hardcore bands, especially when considering the rawness of the production. As with their split brethren, these two songs are a step in the right direction for the band, as they show maturation. They’ve found a sound that works for them, and the split is them trimming the fat and whittling the edges.

The Love American/Harbours Split is less a fluff release, and more a vital stepping stone for two incredibly promising bands. Each of the four songs is simply excellent, that much is true. However, they are more indicative of two bands finding themselves and becoming more comfortable with their sounds, rather than two bands simply making noise for the sake of making noise. I can only imagine what either band will do from here. If this split is any indication, then great things are on the horizon for both Love American and Harbours.

Love American bandcamp
Harbours bandcamp

1. Kayfabe
2. Old English Hearts
3. Promises
4. Untitled

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