The Blood Brothers - Young Machetes
- Artist: The Blood Brothers
- Album: Young Machetes
- Label: V2
- Year of Release: 2006
- ME Rating:
- Reviewed by: kev_stev on 2008-05-10
After listening to the Blood Brothers' Burn Piano Island, Burn, it becomes disappointingly clear that their ambitious third record was their peak, and that they have regressed since. Not to say that Crimes, or even their final release as a band, Young Machetes, were failures, though; they are merely under-achievements from a band that displayed extraordinary potential to merge the disparate genres of pop and hardcore.
Young Machetes begins with "Set Fire to the Face on Fire," the album's finest achievement and first single. The song is short and explosive; bashing cymbals, heavy bass-lines, melodic and repetitively catchy screaming, and the Blood Brothers' oblique lyrics make "Fire" reminiscent of Piano Island, only with an added coat of polish to the sound.
The distorted guitars and strange time-signatures on "We Ride Skeletal Lightening" also ring familiar to fans, while the heavily pop-influenced "Camouflage, Camouflage" emphasizes the latent pop-elements of the Brothers' sound-embracing pop-influenced instrumentation without letting it diverge on their heavy vocal delivery. "Camouflage, Camouflage" is as effective as any song in the Blood Brothers' catalogue; its dynamics vacillate, ultimately winding into melancholic piano and screeching, emotive vocals.
However, as the album progresses, the Blood Brothers' sound and identity gradually disappear, save for a few stand-out tracks. "Spit Shine Your Black Clouds" and "Lift the Veil, Kiss the Tank" are two of the album's most pop-centric hardcore songs (talk about oxymorons) and are nearly radio-friendly, despite the graphic material of the lyrics: "Oh, your mother slit her throat after your father's heart attack." While the successes shine, there are some songs that are downright awful and drag the album down, like the most egregious "You're My Dream Unicorn." The blush-worthy lyrics to "Unicorn," and hell, even its title, makes the track, and even the songs around it, seem ridiculous: "I'm the unicorn with tar teeth chewing spandex nightmares." The sound is abrasive and cacophonous but in a forced way; it is not the fulfilling hardcore we expect from these guys-not by a long shot.
Lots of these songs are hit-or-miss, as is the whole spectrum of the Blood Brothers' music. The album is metaphorically a fitting conclusion to the band; it starts off booming with a distinctive sound, only to have that sound distorted into general mediocrity. The first half (of Young Machetes and of the Brothers' career), as well as bits and pieces of the latter, are most definitely worth your listen, though.
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