Every band strives to have a frontman with a unique voice. Sometimes that works out amazingly well, and sometimes…well, not so well. Las Vegas’ The Lesser You‘s frontman has an unusual but not quite so unique voice, and displays it with full prominence on the band’s recent EP, “The Lesser You EP.”
Firstly, I’m a fan of Rancid in spite of the fact that Tim Armstrong sounds a bit like he’s trying to eat a large sandwich and sing at the same time, but take his voice alone and stick it with a band other than Rancid and the results may not be so favourable. That is exactly the main problem I encountered while listening to The Lesser You. Competent musicians, certainly, but the frontman sounds like he’s chewing on a slightly smaller sandwich while singing, and coming off with odd results. However, this is an opinion that many other listeners may not share.
Despite the frontman’s vocal style, “The Lesser You EP” is still a solid piece of work. There’s a slightly folky style reminiscent of early Against Me! with a bit more of a punk feel to it. It sounds similar to a love child of Street Dogs and Against Me!, if the members of Rancid were the godparents. An odd mixture to be sure, but one that works well musically.
The first track, “Cheers!” sounds very much like early Against Me! if you ignore the shouty vocals. It sounds like a great drinking song, one that could be sung at top volume in rowdy bars, though the lyrics are slightly difficult to understand. It veers slightly towards being obnoxious, making the bar-song feel stand out more. “Forget the Queen” shows more of a Tim Armstrong-esque vocal tendency, which is either a vocal experiment that didn’t pan out quite so well or an issue with sound production, as the vocals are lower and slightly difficult to understand.
“Learning To Be Honest” is the standout track of the album. It displays The Lesser You’s folk tendencies well, with a bit more straight-up punk rock. The singing is clearer, and the tight rhythm section of the band pushes the track from being good to great. The final track, “Every Morning” is a good one, but one that also kind of exhibits production problems. It’s either too low to understand, or with too much high-pitched shouting to really be enjoyable. But once again, the track exhibits the band’s fantastic musical competence, but with vocals that have turned out less than stellar.
In all, “The Lesser You EP” is not a bad piece of work, but one that would benefit from a better production on the vocals, and less of a disparate vocal styling. The vocals either are too low and get lost in the music, or too loud and slightly obnoxious. It’s a good effort from The Lesser You, who I would look forward to seeing perform live, as they do seem to be very good at what they do, which is crafting folk-punk with a louder edge.