Flood Of Red - Leaving Everything Behind
Leaving Everything Behind evokes two emotions: suspicion and sympathy.
Suspicion because you've got to wonder why any band would take five years to release their debut album. Laziness? Incompetence? Occasional short term incarceration? And sympathy because this is a sophisticated release that would've almost certainly drawn more plaudits had it been released five or six years ago. As it is, you get the feeling that the emo bandwagon has not just left town, it's packed its bags, shut up shop and taken a long walk off the end of a very long pier. Pity the poor promotions person trying to sell this one in an increasingly indifferent market.
As far as straying from the basic emo template, there are few surprises: the guitars chug and stutter as required, although the more screamo aspects of their earlier material have mostly gone, replaced by something noticably more wide-angle and epic. Moments of genuine loveliness do shine through - we're talking Jimmy Eat World Clarity-era levels of marshmallow warmth - and it almost goes without saying that the most successful elements come when the chunky riffs are momentarily put aside: the gentle keys of 'Electricity', opener 'The Edge Of The World' ("I'm from the dullest town I know / Full of darker secrets no-one will tell ...") that offers a future closer to Sigur Ros than Lost Prophets should they so choose.
The formula does wear over the course of the album: epic chorus follows epic chorus but without offering much that truly sticks, although Jordan Spiers' vocals retain the faintest Scots lilt, giving the sometimes generic backing a wee bit of character that Yank-apeing acts don't have. Indeed, it's Spiers who perhaps comes out best, his gentle air lullaby sweet, falling somewhere between Roddy Woomble and Elliott's Chris Higdon.
Let's see where they land in 2014.