Westchester, Pennsylvania's Spotted Atrocious falls on the right side of the emo continuum. Thank God. Mixing melody and maximum heaviosity is no easy task, as we witnessed from the early 2000s penchant for pop punk. In theory, it should have worked - muscular metalcore breakdowns, mixed with heartfelt and personal lyrics, infectious vocal harmonies, and excellent musicianship.
This was often not the case, however, in the wake of Dashboard Confessional and Jets To Brazil. Such were the crimes against my ears, in the years immediately following the fall of the Twin Towers, that I have an extreme bias of any music with vocal harmonies and thick guitars. Which is a shame, as every genre has its gems.
Spotted Atrocious' singer owes more to Tool/A Perfect Circle's Maynard James Keenan than Dashboard Confessional's Chris Carrabba, which is to say, its warmer and more soulful than whiny, which serves to actually make you feel what he is singing. The short NoisEPolluter is more like psychedelic, melodic metal/hard rock than emo pop punk, taking the best from each genre, and ditching the rest.
Spotted Atrocious perform a valuable revisionist history of heavy music, reminding us that there were excellent emo bands, from At The Drive-In, to early pioneers like Rites Of Spring. Judging a style, out of hat and out of principal means you are likely to miss some exceptional moments. This is one of those moments where I'm glad that I'm a music journalist, giving me an excuse to pick over the bones of every genre, no matter where it's coming from, overcoming my personal biases, and trying to hear objectively, Spotted Atrocious' music holds up, under the scrutiny. The vocals are strong, and well-balanced, and the guitars are thick and rich as a molasses river on fire, not too flashy, but ultimately serving the music, creating a foundation for the vocals to soar.
NoisEPolluter was conceived as a reflection of the band's live sound, back in 2013 when it was recorded, with only the slightest overdubs - lead guitars, layered vocals, and keys. If this is any indication, Spotted Atrocious is definitely not to be missed live, which promises to be a pummeling yet emotive experience.
Can't wait to hear what these guys get into next!
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