Review: Emarosa — “Peach Club”

Before getting into the bulk of discussing I want to address the primary thing any Emarosa fan is going want to know before deepening into this release: this is a strictly Pop record from the band that is a very far departure from the sugary. Still, intense blend of catchy Post-Hardcore the formerly Jonny Craig fronted powerhouses used to crank out back in the band’s glorious heyday.

Which could it be?

I am totally okay with Emarosa releasing an album that’s far more Pop oriented and mainstream, as they’ve always been fantastic hook-slingers that focus on pumping out melodic hooks through sugary, glistening vocals underneath their more muscular Post-Hardcore exterior. On paper these guys are totally capable of making some fantastic Pop Rock with more intricacies than what’s par for the course for the genre, maybe even some captivating and introspective moments mixed into the sunny fun and the signature instrumental proficiency that the group has always held onto spicing things up and making that potential record something genuinely special and innovative for Pop Rock.

Unfortunately, I’d still love to hear that idealistic record because this is not that album I envisioned.

How it turned out

What left of Emarosa — is an unbelievably bland and generic Pop record that doesn’t remind me of anything the band has ever done in the past. Nevermind even by the sonic presence of the group shifting, but simply because of how incredibly low quality and uninspired this music is in comparison to the band’s highly underrated and beautiful discography.

This is a relentlessly and frustratingly dreary album that tries to disguise itself in really bright synths and punchy 80’s-esque basslines. But instead underneath all those flashy sounds and weak attempts at catchy hooks is a really uninspired band that has such a blatant lack of spirit that it becomes so much more of a drab and depressing listen than it does a happy and bright one, as much as it pains me to say that.

What about instrumental proficiency?

All the instrumentals on this album are as simple, watered down, and brutally unengaging as they possibly could have bee. I genuinely don’t know how they could have made all these parts easier and simpler while still justifying what they’re doing as actual playing. Not just in the guitarist’s case, in particular, aimless strumming around with no real goal or sense of cohesion at all. Those guitar riffs barely even count as riffs, they’re copied and pasted little blurbs that fail to do anything. In this way, guitar presents the listener with the black and white decision of either — shutting the album off or forcefully falling asleep.

As far as the rhythm section goes, copying and pasting certainly applies here as well, as there is no way all these parts are organically recorded all the way through with how robotic and repetitive it all is, along with being confusingly drowned out in the back of the mix so much so that any possible punch or oomph that the bass & drums combo possibly could have had is completely lost in translation when everything is drowned out by the grossly reverb drenched synthesizers and generic vocals.

Speaking of the vocals, Bradley Walden delivers a really poor performance here and there’s no other way I can put it. He hits all his notes and has a decent enough voice. It sounds like he’s trying so hard to be Jonny Craig when he isn’t that he loses every single shred of personality he may have once had in his vocal abilities. As a result, it makes the band sound like a total wannabe shell of its former self on top of all the issues this new sound brings along with it. The songwriting is abhorrently simple along with everything else too. It’s verse chorus Pop with little to no variation and certainly nothing interesting to break things up in the mix in terms of song structure, atmosphere changes, or anything of that nature at all. The band continuously chugs through a slog of nauseatingly repetitive tracks that become harder and harder to listen to the more you’re subjected to them.

Listening to this album on repeat is essentially the same thing as eating a pile of hundreds of yellow starbursts nonstop until they’re gone. Sure you might like candy and even starbursts in particular, but you’ve got a pile of the worst kind of starburst sitting in front of you that will make your canker sores worse until your taste buds become numb and strained with every single piece you eat.

Peach Club is without a shadow of a doubt the absolute worst thing Emarosa has ever done and likely ever will do. I don’t see how they could even go anywhere else after this failed 6 years delayed reboot, as painful as that is for me to say: a band I still love for everything they’ve done before — isn’t the same band for now. This record leaves me with no choice but to accept that and move on from what they used to give the music world.

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