The All New Adventures of Us - Best Loved Goodnight Tales
In bands like Stars and Death Cab For Cutie, there has always been an acceptable side to emo. Not the perfectly-applied eyeliner and teen-idol posturing side that has hopefully had its fifteen minutes, but a lesser recognised skyscraping and lovelorn take that fully merits the 'emotional' tag. The Brits gave it a go earlier this year but I Was a Cub Scout are sadly now defunct; no matter, for these fresh-faced hopefuls - who, as you can see, sport an equally outlandish moniker - are here to make us sway along to their big, emotional pop.
A band of five-plus guys - and one gal for those all-important boy/girl singy bits, of course - are led by chief adventurer Jaime C. Macefield. With vocals falling somewhere between DCFC's Ben Gibbard and Brand New's Jesse Lacey in plaintive mode, Macefield narrates these big-hearted and often very wordy 'tales'. The lyrics are both a strength and weakness; it's clear that Macefield is a wordsmith, references to poets and the art often featured within the songs, but lines like 'Will you miss me when I'm sleeping?' and 'My home is wherever my friends are' veer too close to twee. There's a tendency to drift at times too, the sonically-pleasing "Me Me Me" (see tracklisting for full pretentious title, something they do seem to share with Fall Out Boy) diverting from talking matches to bar fights in Lloyds to nostalgic sentiment.
Thankfully, the music mostly avoids being all over the place. Harmless swooning is generally the order of the day, with some occasional cheery brass lifting the likes of fab single Firetruck (Doki Doki). The majestic noise of Loftets Grand's climax is given room to breathe without Macefield singing over the top, proving their worth lies in musicianship and not simply lyrics. They're at their best when taking a break from emotional outpouring and embracing their youth instead: see the optimistic likes of The Wide-Eyed Led Us Home or St. Crispin's Got Our Backs. There are occasions - hi there, Perfectly Imperfect - where they seem to be wearing Sam Duckworth's titular Cape, which inevitably stings the back of the throat a bit. However, given a few more years to mature their sound, TANOU could really be something special. Guess we'll have to wait for the next adventure...