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Saturday, December 22, 2007

SAOSIN Review



SAOSIN
Saosin
Capital Records

Release date: 26 Sept 2006

Back in the times when Anthony Green stood at the helm as the frontman of the band, Saosin perhaps had different sort of followers and fans than now. Most likely, many of them wouldn’t have wanted Saosin to become a band apparently drifting into the ‘mainstream,’ as they currently have.

However, once Cove Reber stepped into the huge shoes of Green, Saosin progressively became more and more open to suggestion of actually becoming known to the outside world.

Truth is, their debut LP has displayed their true craft and musicianship as a band which previously belted out tracks with what has to be said as aimless screaming at times, similar to the old Alesana. There is no doubt that Reber has done a very decent job indeed in replacing Green. No surprise as to why the record peaked at #25 on the US Modern Rock Charts.

For listeners who find Saosin fairly foreign, the band actually formed in 2003 and have produced quite a number of unreleased and compilations tracks, plus two EPs before actually deciding to come up with an LP.

That experience of making music certainly helped in the production of their album, which has to be said, is a very, very good debut in several ways. For one thing, right from the opening track, It’s Far Better To Learn, the band sound as if they’re masters at the trade, sounding very tight indeed inside the first 20 seconds. Every element of the music, from the guitars and drums are carefully planned and when the vocals come in, Reber proves he can definitely emulate his predecessor. From then on, the rest of the song is simply brilliant and perfect to kick off the album.

The lyrics on the album are also extremely original. At times, it’s seemingly impossible to interpret the meanings of the songs. On Sleepers, the second song, I could instantly hear something oh so familiar. Indeed, after some research, it was found that Sleepers was actually a finalized version of one of Saosin’s songs on the Saosin EP, “I Wanna Hear Another Fast Song.” Several other songs on the record are also finalized versions of their previous songs, all perfected with the help of producer Howard Benson.

From a general point of view, Saosin play a slightly darker and heavier type rock, with more edge and urgency than normal. Down tuned guitars and several effects also contribute to their very interesting, original sound. Nevertheless, they do well on the slightly slower tracks on the album as well, such as Finding Home, I Never Wanted To, and the excellent second single You’re Not Alone, which is perhaps the best track off the record.

And while the song structures are somewhat similar, the band don’t quite make it seem that way, with every minor detail waiting to be picked up by the ear of the listener. Saosin also do well in picking their first single, Voices, which begins with an outstanding guitar riff followed by intricate drum beats in the verse. At one point close to the end of the song, Reber shows he can hit high notes just like Green, who had such a distinctive vocal style. His vocals plus the lead guitar riff combine to formulate a perfect climax to the song. One aspect of the band’s music cannot be denied, excellent guitar riffs, whether in a chugging or clear cut style.

Perhaps a slight (very slight) disappointment was the penultimate track Bury Your Head, which was originally included on the Saosin EP. After the very impressive You’re Not Alone which proved Saosin have a more sensitive side, I was somewhat alarmed at the tempo and feel of Bury Your Head which was somehow lost from the original. Sure, it sounded tighter and more musically advanced, but the Saosin could really have let themselves go a little more on this one. Never fear, as the lyrics on this track made up for the minor lack of drive.

Some say leave the best for last, right? Well, I wouldn’t say the final track Some Sense of Security is the best track of all, but it does well to end the album in style. The bridge of this song possibly comes out tops in comparison to the others, beginning with a hushed Reber repeating the line “This won’t mean anything” before the rest of the band gets back on track superbly.

All in all, Cove Reber and Co. give a really good account of themselves on this debut. As previously mentioned, Saosin have a very original sound. Although some songs on the record sound alike, everything else seems to cover up in perfect fashion. Certainly looking forward to the next release.

Rating: 4/5

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