Sound — 8
Victory records has been the spawning ground of some of metalcore, deathcore and post-hardcore's most loved bands, such as Silverstein, Hawthorne Heights, Taking Back Sunday and Atreyu. Every now and then, however, they sign a band that is brimming with potential, fluid musicianship, and moxy, yet these bands just fit into the backend of their agenda. Meet Jamie's Elsewhere, the best example of this. Jamie's Elsewhere are a 6-piece Post-Hardcore outfit that have undergone a lot of changes during their 2 album tenure with Victory, mostly for the better. Their first album was basically Chiodos-lite, offering semi-bearable high vocals, guitar acrobatics, and pianos galore. Their second effort, "They Said A Storm Was Coming", is a far more concentrated, concise effort, showcasing how magnificent this band can really be (nevermind that more than half the members changed between albums). Their sound is highly concentrated, focusing on tightness most of the time over show-off-y flash. The instruments blend in a pleasent manner, no one outdoing another. The guitars zip with melodious leads and concise rhythm arrangements, the drums blaze with razor-edge precision, and the synths actually add to the mix, rather than being a huge distraction from what else is going on (coughcough, Attack! Attack! Cough). They also show potential to blend moods well. Songs like "Seasons" are straight out attackers, full of aggression and harsh musicianship. Others, such as the somber "One Foot In The Grave", give off such a calmer vibe compared to the other songs that it makes them sound even more epic. The song "The Prodigal" is a highlight for me, driven solely by beautiful piano lines and vocals. These guys show true finese, and aren't afraid to demonstrate just that.
Lyrics — 9
This album isn't only impressive musically, but is also a vocal/lyrical triumph. The lyrics focus around a central concept: a cartographer (map maker, for the less informed). He is lost out at sea, unable to find his way back. Reflecting on his life, he comes across many points that have inspired or haunted him such as love, faith, and his enevitable death. The lyrics range from passionate and driving ("Where is your security now, when you begged for a lifeline and were thrown an anchor instead" - "They Said A Storm Was Coming") to melancholy and reflective ("Ocean Blue, am I really what you seek? Another nameless sailor's ghost lost to the sea?" - "The Prodigal"). The vocalist doesn't disappoint either. He isn't ridiculously high pitched, nor is he too low: just perfect and harmonious. He sings with clean-cut precision, and his screams can't be undermined either. The fry-screams come off as intense and strong, and the lower screams are just as sharp and menacing as the highs.
Overall Impression — 9
Jamie's Elsewhere haven't hit their big break yet, but with an album as impressive as "They Said A Storm Was Coming", it's hard to see why they haven't. The album flows well from song to song, never dropping off into boring territory, and showcasing some damn fine young musicians at the same time. The vocals and instruments compliment each other, and don't drown one another out. I would honestly be surprised if, when people finally catch on to this, Jamie's Elsewhere didn't become the next big thing in Post-Hardcore. For fans of: Of Mice & Men, Sleeping With Sirens, I See Stars.