Release Date: Oct 27, 2014
Genre(s): Emo, Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Post-Hardcore, Screamo
Record label: Epitaph
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Kyle Durfey's always written gut-wrenching and emotionally turbulent songs to cope with his father's death. He's given me some of my most connective tunes to date. In essence, Pianos Become The Teeth have been therapy sessions not only for their lead but for fans like me as well. 2011's The Lack Long After was the record that got me through severe depression over the last few years and it still holds up as one of the best post-hardcore/screamo records I've ever heard -- which had me tentative about the shift in direction that Keep You takes.
Five bands of the self-mockingly named The Wave scene of the American Northeast are at a fascinating moment in their career. La Dispute, Touché Amoré, Make Do And Mend, Defeater and Pianos Become The Teeth made hardcore punk with their own individual twists for the better part of a decade, and it appears they’ve come to realise the formula is played out. It’s a shaky point for the group of friends, but thus far they’ve taken their individual bands’ existential crisis quite well.
Pianos Become the Teeth sound exhausted on Keep You. As well they should. For the better part of a decade, they’ve created music of extreme emotional and physical engagement, music tagged as “post-hardcore” because of the reverberating guitars and five-minute song lengths or “screamo” by the less self-conscious. Their 2009 debut Old Pride had a recording of Kyle Durfey’s mother describing the debilitating effects of multiple sclerosis on her husband, a perversely calm moment because words were being spoken instead of yelled.
Keep You, the third album by Baltimore post-hardcore heroes Pianos Become the Teeth, finds the band at a sort of crossroads. Eight years into a career that had them labeled as poster children for the scene's new wave, they've signed on to the roster of storied indie Epitaph, which will no doubt garner them much wider exposure. While the temptation to build on the heavy, desperate angst of their well-received 2011 release The Lack Long After must have been great, they've chosen a different path, altering their successful formula to deliver a more subtle, contemplative, and melodic album.
Baltimore’s Pianos Become The Teeth have been building to this - their third album - for the past three years now. And with a recent move from stable indie label (Topshelf) to industry big-hitter (Epitaph), the much-loved post-hardcore influenced band face one of the most significant and testing times in their already successful career. Titled ‘Keep You’, Pianos Become The Teeth’s third full-length release is a risk which goes against an already well-established and praised screamo-esque sound.
Baltimore bred screamo band Pianos Become the Teeth are taking a risky detour from their path with their weighty new album, Keep You. The band's third studio album features a ten-song selection that does not include a single Kyle Durfey scream and instead has the vocalist emoting in unusually soft but solid cadences.The tone of Keep You differs from its predecessors mainly in its approach to conveying emotion. Rather than aggressive thrash, there is darkly layered instrumentation; instead of screaming, Durfey attempts to connect on a far more intimate level.
It's well-documented how Pianos Become The Teeth frontman Kyle Durfey has grappled with the loss of his father over the course of several albums. Even if the band weren't releasing records in the internet age where this information is freely disseminated among fans, it wouldn't take a crack reporter to figure out: A pre-recorded speech in "Cripples Can't Shiver," from 2009's Old Pride (properly issued in 2010 via Topshelf), presents Durfey's mother at a church somberly explaining how her husband's multiple sclerosis has affected her family; then there's the opener on the band's followup, 2011's choked-up The Lack Long After, where Durfey longs for just a game of catch with his late father. If Durfey's lyrics from album to album are anything to go by, it's consoling to interpret he's getting over this traumatic loss.
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