If you’ve read some of my prior reviews on a lot of the post-hardcore releases that have come my way, you probably know which side of the “singing vs. throating” spectrum I fall on. As such, reviewing a new post-hardcore album can always be a bit of an adventure, or can at least be a little anxiety-provoking, making that brief moment that happens between hitting the “PLAY” triangle and the first notes of the first song actually kicking off feel like a proverbial eternity. “This Can’t Be Everything,” the newest release EP from Michigan five-piece Louder Than Bombs provides a pretty fair (and certainly welcomed) balance between the two.
Tonally, this is a much brighter, cleaner sounding album than a lot of other bands in the genre, though with a name shared with an old Smiths’ compilation album, that may be a given. Louder Than Bombs come across as first-and-foremost a post-hardcore band, but show off a musical pallete that ranges from Cali pop-punk to airy, shoegazer rock. Album opener “Frequent Liars” is a perfect example of the balance both in its two vocalists and in the balance between the distorted guitar driving the rhythm and the clean guitar providing the melody. The chorus wouldn’t sound out of place on Finch’s “What It Is To Burn” album (I know Finch take a lot of crap in this circle, but I stand by this album as being one of my favorites of the post-hardcore genre).
“Indian Giver” features a great, melody-driven chorus, and is followed by “King Of Pain,” which itself is one of the longest songs on the album, and perhaps the best. It features a little more singing than the first couple of songs, always a plus from where I stand. “Diligent For” features more singing and less “throat” than the rest of the tracks, and does so with a perfect balance. With its catchy, almost pop-punk style group singalong chorus, and its focus on more singing than “throat” than the rest of the tracks“Diligent For” is a great song that suffers only from its brevity. “Ambassador” is a 1:05 shoe-gazey instrumental track that is the darkest sounding song on the album. It also suffers from being way too short, though Louder Than Bombs are not out to be a Farewell Continental style band, so I get it. This is the kind of song that one could picture the immensely underrated Hum perseverating on for an eight-minute sonic experience. “Cognitive Patterns” closes the album and stands as it’s longest and most prototypical of the post-hardcore, sub-screamo (did I just make that up?) sound.
By and large, “This Can’t Be Everything” is a very solid release. I did get the sense, however, that it almost listens as more of a teaser EP. The short length of a couple of the tracks and the small bits that dabble in different genres show what the band is capable of going forward if they commit to elaborating on any or all of their ideas.