Seeing as today is July the 4th, I thought I would reminisce on an album that reminds me of summer. There are a few, to be sure, but this one reminds me of one of my favorite summers, the summer of 2009. Though it was my first summer having a full-time job, it was epically fun, and this album provided much of the windows-down headbanging soundtrack.
I don’t exaggerate when I say this album is in my top ten favorites. Each song is a veritable masterpiece in its own right, but the best ones are simply breathtaking. After experimenting a bit with their sound in 2007, Emery returned to their roots with the artful juxtaposition they were known for. Intricate dueling vocals, fascinating drum backing, and dynamic guitar playing all anchor the album, no pun intended. I was impressed enough to write a full review right after its release. My opinions still hold up years later.
Lyrically, the songs speak much of broken hearts and the perpetrators which have caused them. Still healing from a break-up around the beginning of that year, it was quite cathartic to sing along at the top of my lungs while driving down the interstate. There’s nothing quite like the delicate harmonies of Toby Morrell and Devin Shelton transitioning into a full-on screamo breakdown. The style may have seen its day come and go, but the creativity behind it is undeniable, in my opinion. Songs such as “Curbside Goodbye” and “In Shallow Seas We Sail” capture the full gamut of emotion, from sullen reflection to aggressive release, in a way that doesn’t seem possible with other genres.
The album carried me through the hot summer months before eventually waning in my rotation. I now pull it out every now and then when I need to be reminded of what is possible when musicianship and raw passion collide.
You can find the complex, dynamic masterpiece that is In Shallow Seas We Sail on Spotify or Amazon.