REVIEW: The Saddest Landscape – “After The Lights”

[Feb. 14, 2012 – Topshelf Records // Find it at: Topshelf Records Store]


There are always those rare instances at the beginning of records – the ones that collapse into a surging rush of harmony and grab you by the neck until you reach the final second of the last song. “In Love With The Sound” is one of those songs. The opener on Boston/New York four-piece The Saddest Landscape’s After The Lights goes from a simple series of strings to morphing into an emotional post-hardcore landmine that detonates with the sudden introduction of the group’s central voice. If there’s a guide here, it’s the chemistry. The pulse that acts as the record’s central ball of life is how tight the group is from top to bottom; on “When Everything Seemed To Matter”, the balance of vocals versus drums is a deafening shank to the ear that swims into a delicate transition. It’s these moments that mimic the creative skill behind similar acts (La Dispute, Touche Amore) while drawing up a form of vocal-shredding injustice that can shift in tempo (“This Heals Nothing”, “The Urge For Permanence”). The lyrics hold more weight as vocalist Andy Maddox has a nervous tick to be emphatic but when the focus of being unique comes to a halt, fragments of After The Lights bleat shakily, taking away from The Saddest Landscape’s aggressive desperation and delivery. Although when the latter hits  – as it does in the mid-way point of “The Comfort Of Small Defeats” – it chips away at originality, breathing life into every drum roll and chord rupture that follows.

Download: “In Love With The Sound”, “Desparate Vespers”

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