Harmless, friendly, but dark, in (stereo)typically Amity Affliction fashion.
Youngbloods was a great record in my book; it wasn’t groundbreaking by any stretch, but the band has always performed with a certain remarkable honesty and an edge of consistent competence that drew me in. Youngbloods was a rough-cut gem of a metalcore album, offering generous replay value with its poppy choruses, dark subject matter, and charmingly raspy production. The band’s production and its vocal work have always been primary strengths, but as of late the production has been ‘improved’ by making it sound more polished, which I won’t chart up as a good thing. Unfortunately, 2014 release Let the Ocean Take Me follows the same path as usual, except this time around the vocal writing is merely competent, making for a merely passable album.
The Amity Affliction is reliant on the vocal tag-team of Ahren Stringer and Joel Birch, but this time around the songwriting is weaker in general, with same-y choruses that seem to replay too many times. I hesitate to mention the instrumentals because they’re pretty standard fare, although arguably in the band’s style, they’ve never been the main focus anyway. They are, however, weaker too, seemingly functioning as simple buffer for the vocals whist on earlier records they had more personality and direction. Let the Ocean Take Me is rife with safe chord progressions and pedantic percussion work, possibly the result of a new guitarist. It’s formulaic and competently executed, but it’s an album that is built without much staying power or any sense of innovation in mind.
Like the previous Amity Affliction album, I intend to put this on replay for a short while and then forget about it entirely.