Throughout the thousands of years of humanities existence, there’s undoubtedly been some embellishment, but as it predates writing, storytelling has been one of the longest lasting and most impacting methods of communication throughout history. Music has taken a key role in the realm of storytelling as musicians work towards captivating audiences with beautifully composed arrangements or delicately crafted tales. While not necessarily factual, these tales tend to be created for a reason, with the hopes of hammering home a message that the artist would like to get across. Weaving stories and music together while captivating fans across the world is what helped catapual theatrical post-hardcore outfit Famous Last Words into the spotlight and has become synonymous with the band. With the outfits new release, The Incubus, they once again find themselves at the center of a rabid fan-base hoping for another excellent release — but does it meet expectations?
[tw-toggle title=”About Famous Last Words”]
Genre: Post Hardcore
Label: Revival Recordings
Release: September 30, 2016
Connect: Facebook | Twitter
Purchase: iTunes | Google Play | Physical
Thematically is where Famous Last Words have always made their biggest strides and once again, there is a deep message interwoven into their music. The Incubus delves into the stereotypes and inequalities women faced in the 1950’s and the post World War II-era, but more specifically, it follows the protagonist Christine who dealt with subjects such as sexual and domestic abuse. While most bands would shy away from such dark and disturbing themes, Famous Last Words do no such thing. Their willingness to delve into tough subject matters helps shed light on very real issues that sadly are still prevalent to this day. Vocalist JT Tollas does an effective job making the listener get pulled into the story and share in the emotions of the protagonist Christine. As a whole, this is a record that if truly paid attention to, delivers an extremely powerful message and one that should leave a lasting impact on anyone who listens to it — which as storytellers, is one of the bands main goals.
Famous Last Words — ‘Pretty In Porcelain’– from the album The Incubus — Available Now!
Upfront, The Incubus sees an ever so slight shift in sound, but retains a high level of familiarity throughout due to the consistent utilization of elements that fans have become accustomed to over the bands career. The majority of that shift becomes quickly apparent in the theatrical aspects of the album as there’s a much higher usage of theatrical stylizations and influences, taking that approach to the next level. When it comes to the sonic approach, the band takes a slightly different approach to their heavier roots. These changes are prominently on display in songs like “Debilitated”, which has a haunting interlude midway through the song that is deep and brooding or “Eleven Fifty Five”, which features a combination of soaring hooks and gritty screams, once again highlighting the bands ability to transition seamlessly between elements. Tollas shines throughout the entire album, lyrically and vocally as his delivery is drenched with emotion and the hooks he has crafted are catchy and engrossing.
Famous Last Words willingness to depart from a lackluster formula found in post hardcore and metalcore is a testament to their own growth and maturity and The Incubus proves that bands can live up to high expectations that are thrust onto them by their fan-base. This is a record that employs blistering, fast paced and bouncy riffs, soaring choruses, crisp and tight production and well utilized theatrical elements without ever letting one part overpower the rest of it, making it a joy to listen to. On the flip-side of that is an intricate and intriguingly powerful and emotional story of a time that rarely seems to be explored, which should help further fuel the discussion of current societal on-goings all while being delivered on a record that will have a lasting appeal and message for years to come.