Thursday, October 25, 2012

Beau Navire - 2011 Hours

Band : Beau Navire
Album : Hours
Release Year : 2011
Genre : Screamo | Emo Violence

Tracklist :
1. Hours
2. The Looking Glass
3. A book, a mind
4. Reinventing The Veil
5. Respire (meta)
6. Cloud City
7. "It's Not An Art, It's A Myth"
8. Bare Trees
9. Lost and Leaving
10. interlude
11. Solemn Moon
12. Remnants
13. Respire (sync)

Throughout the screamo scene there’s been an ongoing trend of incorporating post-rock build-ups and sweeping clean guitar parts, particularly in Europe. The sound has received a lot of criticism for being perfected and over-used. However the problem isn’t the fact that the formula has been abused, but perhaps the emphasis on the formula itself. Of course there’s nothing wrong with orchestration and great transitioning can be the crux of a group. Nevertheless, all of these symphonic groups seem to suffer from a set in stone linearity that makes every heartfelt swell sound like an exercise, never taking risks within the structure or being able to dwell in any sort of repetition or non climactic texture. The most essential part of screamo has never been dynamics or technique, but striking a chord in all of the accumulated, often dissonant, heartfelt madness; creating some sort of moment of clarity within all of the hardcore and the passion that resonates. If you look at the group I Wrote Haikus About Cannibalism in Your Yearbook, which contained members of Beau Navire, they were, in the strictest of musical senses, amateurs. The voice-cracked screams were off rhythm and would often clash with other background vocals and the guitar sounds were probably some of the cheapest ever to be put on record. Yet the lone cries of “Save me from my room. Save me from my thoughts” over lone guitar noodling created a strangely desolate effect that displayed only the most sincere passion.

Beau Navire’s Hours is a gut-wrenching synthesis of that classic touch and technical precision. While their previous LP, Life Moves, established a recognizable gloomy, lo-fi sound, their new release takes the sound and transcends it into a messy, yet extremely well crafted and produced magnum opus. The sounds on Hours are developed and professional, yet retain the fiery intensity that laced the group’s previous recordings. The songs often transition from gentle ambient guitar harmonies into short, yet effective moments of grinding rhythms and frenetic instrumental work. The group knows how to build into those soaring hardcore moments that many bands have perfected, yet they often show up unpredictably, catching the listener with a tight grip, only to let them go into noisy oddities and colorful jams. The manner in which they switch between the two sounds is displayed with beauty on tracks like “It’s Not An Art, It’s A Myth”, where the band reverses the order and forms a funky little jam, while sporadically breaking into piercing screams and tremolo rhythms. While the bands previous efforts had come off as rad collections of individual tracks, the new record has a magnificent flow, using ambient instrumentals and detailed composition to create an incredibly complete and cohesive effort.

However Hours best succeeds in its cathartic qualities; the vocalist, Trei, has this voice that pulls off the desperate, “crying at the mic” vocal technique that manages to avoid sounding contrived. He finds the most subtle, yet brilliantly orchestrated moments to release his desperate tales over, whether it be in the form of a shout or a spoken word. Hours has a sort of cryptic quality that keeps the band’s music from hitting immediately, with mostly indecipherable lyrics and unorthodox instrumentation. However the group’s music slowly grows upon the listener, grabbing at them in ways unexpected, in genuine heartfelt moments of dissonant passion and musical brilliance. I find myself writing about it too often, but there’s nothing more refreshing in music then to hear a band carefully use their resources and energy to create masked, yet relatable clashes of music and feeling that resonate in the best of ways. Beau Navire not only seize and capitalize on moments like these, but they successfully integrate the various facets of the genre to do it with finesse. An immense screamo album to remember.

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