Emo is a word that has come to mean so many things to so many different people, so to use it in popular musical discussion is to invite confusion. Any label that is invoked to speak of Rites of Spring, My Chemical Romance, Cap’n Jazz and Foxing is one whose use as an adjective is majorly in question. Whichever of these you consider to be ‘real’ emo, the twinkling guitars, suspended chords and occasionally self-aware melodrama that are staples of the genre have become a staple of math rock since Piglet, American Football and TTNG paved the musical road.
Hit Home’s …After the Fact knows it’s forebearers and builds where they left off. From the bright tapping that closes ‘Opaque’ to the layered vocals that kick off ‘Aguary’, riffs leap cheerfully from one time signature to another as songs progress along wandering paths that lead them from melody to melody. These Duck. Little Brother, Duck!-esque passages and structures prevent songs from settling or becoming repetitive. Each musical idea is dwelled on just long enough.
The band also do a great job of varying tone, energy and mood without sounding incohesive. ‘Lackluster’ and ‘worn’ are gentler moments on the track-listing but sit in perfectly between heavier moments like ‘Vernate’, that alternates between walls of furious guitar with screamed vocals, and quiet noodling. This is an album whose half hour length is absolutely packed with musical detail – my fifth or sixth listen is still yielding new parts. Those who are fans of ‘twinkles’ should get a lot of joy out of this album.
Math rock, vocals, emo, ethereal, tappity-tap, disjointed riffs