By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Steve Brennan
By Joseph Hess
By Allsion Babka
By Kelsey McClure
By RFT Music
By Christian Schaeffer
By Gabriel San Roman
The local quartet So They Say sounds at home in its chosen format on its second full-length for respected indie label Fearless Records. Life in Surveillance features back-and-forth vocal interchanges, overpowering drum figures and soft-LOUD-soft guitar patterns, all of which point to the current state of harder-edged emo. So They Say nails these traits without taking too many chances, but to the band's credit, Surveillance is technically perfect the tempo changes and guitar licks are razor-sharp, and the vocal harmonies complement each other without being overly cloying or needlessly emphatic. It's a rare case of a young band showing the wisdom of restraint amid the excess of a modern recording studio.
"You're Welcome" moves along on a stutter-step beat as a flurry of electronic blips and beeps build in the song's periphery. It's one of the few places where the band (and producer Matt Hyde) tinkers with the dual-vocal emo formula. The next track, "Close Range," sneaks in a fuzzy, descending stoner-rock riff amid all the high-neck guitar riffage. Things get heavy with the closing track "Nuclear Sunrise," a raga-tinged rocker with a regrettable bongo-filled coda that finds singer Joseph Hamilton exhorting the listener to "get off your ass and start a revolution." Really? Are people still singing about that, especially at the end of some vague, post-apocalyptic love song? So They Say would do well to remember that revolutions start on the inside and that it's OK to take a chance on revolutionizing what has become a staid genre.
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