Review by Shannon Shumaker
In 2019, it isn’t unheard of for bands to completely change their sound with a new album, but there are very few that can pull it off with the ease that Emarosa have on their latest release, Peach Club. Swapping high energy, post-hardcore guitar riffs for retro synth, strong bass, brass sections and soaring, poppy choruses, Peach Club is certainly a massive departure from the band’s 2016 release, 131, but they tackle it in a way that will interest long-time fans and maybe even gain a few new ones.
The album begins on a strong note as the band charges headfirst in a new sonic direction with the massive, “Givin’ Up.” The song, spearheaded by groovy bass and a full brass section takes a big step away from Emarosa’s older material, but it doesn’t necessarily feel like night and day. It’s a good first track for those who want to ease themselves into this new sound before the synth driven “Don’t Cry” and twinkly, retro “Cautious” come in. While “Givin’ Up” feels like a bridge between 131 and Peach Club, “Cautious” actually throws all caution to the wind and dives headfirst into a stunning, retro-pop anthem. Instrumentally, “Cautious” is nothing like anything Emarosa have ever done and only remotely feels like their older material in Walden’s familiar vocals.
Sonically, Peach Club is spectacular, perfectly blending elements of Emarosa’s previous material in the guitar work with stunning synth, groovy bass and massive, poppy choruses. Things only ever really feel shaky vocally, but that’s not because Walden doesn’t deliver a great performance. At times, it simply just feels like his vocal style doesn’t completely mesh with the synth-pop influenced instrumentals. However, these moments are outshined by songs like the confident “Cautious”, catchy as hell “So Bad” and beautiful, “IW2DWY.”
Some of the album’s standouts include “So Bad,” which takes a page out of Great Good Fine OK or Joan’s book with spectacular bass, retro guitar work and a massive, catchy as hell chorus, and “Help You Out,” which takes on a more rock tone than the rest of the album, but still finds a way to fit in. The stripped down “xo” offers listeners a little bit of a breather before the final four songs and massive finale, while “IW2DWY” takes on a very soft, heartfelt tone – it has Walden singing in a way that we haven’t heard him before, and it’ll certainly leave listeners wanting more.
If you go into this album looking for something that has the same raw energy as 131, then Peach Club might not be for you, but if you’re searching for an album that not only shows immense growth from the band and a willingness to try new things, then you’re bound to find something you love. Although Peach Club is a huge departure from Emarosa’s old material, there are still key elements that make this release a great Emarosa album, filled to the brim with creative songwriting, vulnerable lyricism and the vocal performance of a lifetime.
LISTEN TO: “So Bad” or “Cautious”
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