Friday, 18 April 2014

Issues - Issues

Issues' self-titled debut screams 'nu metal', then melodically sings it through to you in case you didn't hear it the first time. The band have invented a different realm to other musical crossbreeds, and when held without comparison to other metal/R&B, this album is creative and inspiring. But it seems Issues' identity crisis throughout this debut could well be a toxic product of the ever-popular Punk Goes Pop compilations, where Issues featured a cover of NSYNC's Merry Christmas Happy Holidays, which is all well and good on a cover, but an entire album of grating combinations doesn't pull off as well as you'd hope.

The opening track Sad Ghost sets the scene for the personality clashes throughout the album, and definitely doesn't make a great first impression. The link between metalcore and R&B breaks far too often throughout the record, as the directions to The Langdon House aren't crystal clear and the Personality Cult fails to attract followers, it's clear through many tracks that the two genres don't see eye-to-eye. The mixing desk moments of Stingray Affliction and the utterly pointless Old Dena will grate on those who have lived through the DJ era of the 90s and heard it all before, but this feels like a novelty they shouldn't attempt again.

Grasping the deep emotions that drive both R&B and metalcore, the lyrics on this album suit both genres - 'what if I become a silhouette of this very same thing, then everything you taught me seems to start fading' - The Settlement takes on a much deeper metalcore influence and produces just what we came to expect from this album. Extract Carter's clean vocals, place them over a pure R&B backing, and not one note sounds out of place. Michael Bohn's uncleans add the final touch of magic to each track, primarily Stingray Affliction, and you can feel every word as if it's his last.

However, the infectious pop optimism bursts through the anthem Never Lose Your Flames, maintaining the catchiness of their R&B roots but the core emotional dilemma of metalcore. Disappear (Remember When?) could carry the entire album with its definitive, motivating gospel choir closing. Late captures the anthemic pop-punk trend we've seen consistently for a good decade now, but few have tired of. Mad At Myself transports you right back to the days of 00s R&B legend Mario but the moment you catch hold of the riffs, you're transported into Issues' concocted realm of sweeping clean vocals and punishing drums.
Tears On The Runway ever so slightly breaks hearts in ways you wouldn't have expected from the rest of the album, with Nylo's unexpected guest vocals suiting the song but certainly not blending into the entire record's atmosphere.

This album is Marmite - love it or hate it, it makes no difference. You'd be hard pushed to love every track as the album courses through a myriad of approaches to blending two drastically different genres. Despite the failed experiments, the successful mergers of Disappear (Remember When) and Never Lose Your Flames stick firmly in your mind until you've exhausted them on repeat for weeks on end. You'll find it hard to press pause on these fantastically catchy tracks of this record, but the skip button certainly won't be retired when avoiding some of the unbearable clashes with R&B personality.
This could herald the future of metalcore, providing they fire the DJ.

Best Bits: Disappear (Remember When), Never Lose Your Flames, Tears On The Runway.
For Fans Of: Breathe Carolina.


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