War Tapes | War Tapes EP
Most Likely To: ensure The Bravery receive no parole.
You know, in the realm of throwback-wave bands, we haven’t really much to deal with of any quality. The Killers were relatively enjoyable on their first record (tolerable, at least) and the general glut of bands associated with the sub-sub-mainstream aspect of the genre wasn’t too irritating, but they always seemed to lack the dangerous gloom that lent a feeling as well as an aesthetic to bands like Depeche Mode and New Order. Eventually, the whole mess was eaten up by VH1 and iTunes and the only real remnants we have now from what could have been an interesting little revival are the bland, thirty-something stylings of The Bravery.
But, as I mentioned before, it was all a little pique that could have legitimately been interesting and could theoretically be worth exploring further. War Tapes seem to have decided to lead the expedition and start their journey by turning everything WAY THE FUCK UP. This should work in theory. After all, the greater portion of my complaints against the ideal have been how even everything sounded, how very Pro Tools it all became and how every vocalist seemed utterly incapable of stretching their voices lest they step outside of their carefully cultivated, anglophile drone. The question remains – have War Tapes succeeded in any tangible way?
Yes, to an extent. War Tapes have made a valiant effort at keeping the wave-torch burning by adopting a sound that is loud enough and brutal enough to add that missing touch of gloom and doom, but the end product is regrettably more Orgy than Interpol. Everything from the vocals to the production screams “too much” and “not enough” simultaneously. Catchy as it all is, cutting as everything may sound, the EP never steps outside of any real conventions established by their douchebag peers and contemporaries. Vocally, the nasal aesthetic still reigns over freedom. Musically, exploration is limited by a religious adherence to precedent and safety (little more than three minute cute-cuts to be found here). Lyrically, well, just take a look at this sample from a song called “She Lied”: “All day long I communicate with the dead corpse I call my girlfriend.” Spooky!
A step in the right direction? Assuredly, but a baby step. This may actually be a decent band one day, but in the meanwhile I’ve just got yet another thing in life that I will choose to blame on The Bravery simply because a) I can and b) they deserve it.
Listen to “Dreaming of You” by War Tapes: