I’m biased. Emery is one of my favorite acts in the genre they work in. While there have been a few records that didn’t resonate with me over the years, they’ve always stayed true to themselves, and I respect that.
I just recently got to see them live for the first time since I was maybe 13 and, my god, it was fantastic. Collectively, their hair is beginning to gray, and wrinkles are starting to show on their faces, but the energy they bring to each new performance is more intense than most younger bands I’ve seen lately.
Live they were incredible. I hadn’t seen a more energetic group of musicians in quite a while (probably since last I saw Enter Shikari). On record, that energy is much more controlled; the music doesn’t feel nearly as explosive as it is live, and I’m unsure why that might be.
Obviously a concert is much louder than your car stereo, and watching an involved performance can add a bit of weight to the music, but I’m not sure that’s the only difference. It seems like this band has never been properly captured. The guitarists have such an incredible sense of harmony in their writing, and it never comes across as well record as well as it did from the stage the other night.
Toby Morrell has one of the most unique set of pipes amongst his contemporaries, which was one of the more intriguing parts of their live show. Over my many years of listening I had never picked up on how smooth his vocals were, outside of the “You Were Never Alone” track “Thrash”. To me, that voice would be the first thing I would want to preserve while doing a mix, but it, like the guitar harmonies, never came through while listening to their albums.
Again, I saw them when I was around 13 years old, and immediately after that show I really liked them. Over time though, I couldn’t remember what it was at the core that attracted me to the music. 15 years later, the other night at the Crescent Ballroom, I was reminded. Everything came together so well in a live setting.
Emery is fantastic on record, their songwriting is incredible, and their production always sounds good, but none of the previous recordings really capture how they actually play. They have such a clear distinction between guitar parts, live. They achieve a perfect harmony and timbre with their vocals, the way they fit the synths into the picture is smart; all of it gave a lot of previously unrecognized life to the songs I’d been listening to for ages.
With “Now What” I felt differently. I could really feel the weight of the instruments, the emotion behind the lyrics, the definition between guitars, and voices as well. This was, in my opinion, the best mix that Emery has ever put out. Of course ease of access to new technology, and better recording practices can contribute to the overall sound, but I didn’t feel this way about their last release, “Eve”. It was a great record, but I feel like it also suffered from the ail that plagued their other releases; it didn’t feel like Emery does live.
I really enjoyed the new track thru and thru. It felt like an Emery track in all it’s post-y glory, from the immersive, and intriguing guitar work, to the duo vocal performances. It’s full of old post hardcore soul, but at the same time, can definitely stack up against some of the more popular releases of the day. Everyone should absolutely be listening to this band in 2019, they’re just as good now as they’ve always been, if not better. The new single is fantastic, and Im very excited for this new record to drop.
Everyone who has ever been a fan of post hardcore needs to see this act live, they are the one band I can say it is an absolute must. And while I do really enjoy the mix on this new single, I don’t think it’s possible for an recording engineer to capture what they truly put forward in concert. I suppose it must be more than just a mix, it must be an energy. A pure, honest, and genuine energy that can only be experienced from the crowd.