Down-Stares - Cobras & Matadors
As fast risers go, Down-Stares would rank up there amongst today's American rock bands. In now 9 years of existence, they've played hundreds of shows across the country, released 5 albums and have built up a full head of steam for this release, Cobras & Matadors. I was contacted by frontman Simeon Hendrix not too long ago and asked to check this disc out, and I've spent time with it on multiple occasions since first recieving it. While not quite my "thing", the sound here is totally relevant today and I can see why they've been making a name for themselves far and wide.
To my ears (and I'm not so experienced with this type of music), Down-Stares sound an awful lot like Thrice. There is a tinge of screamo in Simeon's vocals and the lyrical content, which is frankly what tends to draw me away from similar bands. It doesn't really seem to fit the style of music being played, but works as well here as I've ever heard before. The rock is really more of a thrashy metal, with heavy punk undertones. Simeon's vocals are quite expressive, emotive and absolutely sound like they've been made the centerpiece of the songs. 9 tracks that all stick out for their own reasons, but you'll find yourself returning to the melodic, heart-felt "An Ambulance Named Emergency" more than any other. This track should be played on alternative radio stations across the globe. "Cujo (This is for the Losers)" is also decidedly impressive. The band as a whole tends to really too heavily on repeated tricks: the big breakdown proceeded by the restrained bridge with Simeon's vocals run through a bull-horn sounding effect, etc.
Cobras & Matadors is, above all, a very tight album, put together and structured extremely well. The songs never really blend together; only certain repetitive elements that pop up from time to time. Again, this isn't my usual cup of tea and as such I needed ample amount of time to really appreciate what Down-Stares were all about. I find them honest, somewhat refreshing and definitely talented; a band that would appeal to me personally a bit more with a refined lyrical direction and just a little more variety in their songwriting. As it is, they're worth recommending to any fan of emo-tinted hard rock/metal, and whatever similar sub-genres out there might apply.
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