Pick your favorite genre. Then, pick your favorite band within said genre. Next, take out some members and replace them with new members. At first, the fit of people may seem great. Then, those same people want to start drifting into different things for a multitude of reasons. This in turn leads to something that no one expected, not even the members who replaced the previous ones. Not even the original band members. What’s the point behind all of this? Shit happens…people change…life goes on and that is exactly what happened with Emarosa.
I mean think about it; was there ever a time that you felt you could say a new Emarosa album had Carly Rae Jepsen influences? Probably not and that’s what speaks volumes about how the bands direction has changed since 2014’s Versus. When Bradley Walden first entered the band, there was no indication of what to expect or of what was to come from Emarosa, and there was probably ZERO consideration that they would release a pop record like Peach Club. However, the bridge between both Versus and Peach Club lies within the offerings on 131, which saw the band take on alternative rock influences to great success and within this album is the key to the band’s fifth album with the track “Helpless”.
While recording Peach Club, Walden described the process as “Helpless on cocaine“, which meant taking the Pop/R&B sound that 131 only dabbled in to another level. In this MJ inspired track, the band explored this side more than any other song on 131, and laid the foundation for what would be the band’s foray into pop rock. The album not only takes on pop rock head on but does so with confidence, as if it’s what they’ve been doing for so long. This is made clear with the album opener and first single, “Givin’ Up”, a bouncing track filled with synths, an infectious hook and even a saxophone solo a la “Run Away With Me” from Jepsen. The influence from the pop singer can be seen throughout the album in its homage to 80s pop but it’s made apparent in the throbbing synths and hooks that dominate “Cautious” and “So Bad”.
While the crux of the album lies in the more upbeat tracks, the album doesn’t falter when it pulls away from doing so and goes even further into uncharted territory with the atmospheric “Don’t Cry” or the album-highlight “Xo”. The song is the emotional centerpiece of the album as it strips down to nothing but a blues influenced guitar and one of Walden’s best vocal performances so far. The guitar holds on to each and every single word that soars out of Walden as he pleads for love, finding emotion through simplicity.
The one-two closing punch of “Iw2dwy” and “Wait, Stay” make for two of the band’s best songs so far as the former weaves a hip hop beat with mellow synths that explodes into one of the album’s best choruses as a wall of cascading synths backup the incredibly dark lyrics “I could fall apart right now, but I want to die with you” in a complete contrast to the overall upbeat feeling that the album has. “Iw2dwy” is a song that goes against the 80s pop sound the album has and goes for a more recent dark pop one in the vein of bands like The Neighbourhood that makes you hope that the band explores that sound even more. The closer, “Wait, Stay” is a melancholic track with shimmering guitars that create this dream-like atmosphere that just envelops you and yearns for love. While 131’s closer, “Re”, had more of an emotional punch with its callbacks to previous songs and a conclusion to the album’s theme, “Wait, Stay” definitely makes the case for being the better song and a fine conclusion to Peach Club.
The thought of seeing your favorite bands change is always one that creates worry because you never know if it’ll pay off, or that they’ll change enough that everything that you loved about them goes away. It’s something that happens often and you can make the case for Emarosa being a band that changed everything about them to the point that it feels like a completely different band. Peach Club certainly makes it clear that this isn’t the band who made Relativity, but interestingly enough it also isn’t the same one who made Versus or 131, despite both coming from (mostly) the same members. Peach Club is a statement that you can change and you can lose everything that’s made you who you were, but maybe that’s for the better because why look back? Emarosa certainly hasn’t and it doesn’t look like they will anytime soon.