Relenter is a band comprised of Chris Parker (vocals/guitar/bass/piano/keys/strings), Robert Martz (piano/keys/vocals), Kenny Flores (drums) and Adam Tufano (bass/guitar). They originally formed in 2001 but as most bands do broke up due to adult responsibilities. The band reformed and recorded Comfort of My Dreams.
The band seems to try and go emotionally deep with this album in sort of a Pink Floyd type of way. Some of the songs rely on more organic instrumentation while others feel more electronic not too far away from NIN. It’s hard to classify the band because they jump from style to style so frequently.
They open with “Dust to Dust” which is where I was reminded more of NIN but also of a lot of darker new wave acts. It feels very goth oriented as if Cut Copy got dark. The overall feel is very serious without the slightest sense of levity. That being said there is also a forward moving momentum.
Up next is “Goodbye” which again tries to create a very heavy emotional and pensive foundation. The vocalist sings, “See the empty room within my mind.” There is a lot of great things happening in terms of instrumentation as they blend electronic percussion with piano and a number of other elements.
They get back into a dark new wave with “Scarred.” The band shows a new angle to their sound with “Time Slipped Away” which sounds like it could have been a Pink Floyd B-side. The band hits upon a very similar headspace to numerous Pink Floyd songs that feels tranquil and cosmic.
They sound more like a ’90’s alternative band on “The Answer” and rock out in epic fashion on “Comfort of My Dreams.” I was a little confused with “Crash and Burn” where they sound a little more like an ’80s hard rock band. There is also an ’80s vibe with “Water’s Edge” which is more like a ballad.
They go for orchestral melancholy on “Autumn Day” and then go back into dark new wave with “The Lends.” That transition in style and mood felt radical. They then go into a dark opera of sorts with “Bloodmoon” and close with a more intense rock and new wave hybrid called “Faded Lines.”
The one underlying thing with the album is that they are going for something monumentally big and grand. That was the feeling I kept getting. This isn’t an easy thing to do unless you are Radiohead, Pink Floyd and a few others and even those bands struggle with such big ideas. The album started especially strong for me and there are some great songs after that as well. My only slight issue is I wish they would have limited the amount of genres they attempted. Albums like The Dark Side of the Moon and OK Computer work so well because they have a sense of continuity the entire time.
The band put some serious effort and work in this album. That is obvious. I think the dark new wave material was excellent but I also really liked the slower ballad “Time Slipped Away.” Overall, I think this is a really good album and pulls off some of the almost unattainable heights it strives for.
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