Words About Music
Defeater “Letters Home”
Time to take a quick break from the hip hop reviews to focus on another favorite genre of mine: post-hardcore. Specifically, the new wave of post-hardcore sometimes called The Wave, which features bands such as La Dispute, Pianos Become the Teeth, Touché Amoré, Make Do And Mend, and Defeater. Characteristics of these bands include emotionally charged lyrics, screamed and shouted vocals, post-rock like instrumental builds, and hardcore punk intensity and anger. One of the best but least well known groups from The Wave is Defeater, who play lyrical post-hardcore and melodic hardcore that is sort of by the books, if the books were written by Guy Picciotto and Ian Mackaye. Defeater write songs about loss, depression, and death, and play music that can definitely be described as intense and powerful.
“Letters Home” is the third, and without a doubt the best, album from Defeater, and is bound to give you goosebumps if you enjoy this style of music. It’s not as emo-inspired as La Dispute, not as screamo-inspired as Pianos Become the Teeth, but still retains that certain quality some of the best modern post-hardcore bands are known for. It kind of brings back memories of Glassjaw during their heyday.
Obviously, this style of music is not for everyone. Some punk fans will find it too wimpy or too slow. Non-punk fans will think it’s too loud, and find the screamed vocals to be unnecessary. But fans of Rites of Spring, Snowing, and Glassjaw will definitely see the appeal in the band’s approach to hardcore music.
Now, personally speaking, I don’t really enjoy “Letters Home” as much as I enjoy bands like La Dispute or Pianos Become the Teeth, but it has definitely certified Defeater as one of the standout post-hardcore acts that exist today, and will make me highly anticipate whatever project they come out with next. I really do hope they experiment with sound more like they did on the track “Dead Set” so people will see more of a difference between them and La Dispute, but this is nonetheless a heavy, no-holds-barred, emotional roller coaster of an album, and definitely one of the best loud rock albums I’ve heard all year.
GRADE – 8.3
BEST TRACKS – Bastards, No Shame, Blood In My Eyes, No Saviour, Rabbit Foot, Bled Out