Sound — 9
Make no mistake, I was not a very big Pierce The Veil fan before I heard this album. Their grandest work to date, Pierce have proven that they are a force to be reckoned with on Selfish Machines, and not just another scene-core band to be listened to and then lumped in with other bands with nice hair and overly gratuitous breakdowns. What comes out of a surprisingly unique, diverse and well-written album such as this is one of the greatest albums of 2010, and one can only wonder after listening to this album why other bands that have been around longer than these guys haven't progressed to this level of mixed complexity and originality.
Lyrics — 8
The lyrics in Selfish Machines offer a picturesque universe fully crafted (and probably embellished a little bit for dramatic effectiveness) by frontman Vic Fuentes, lead vocalist and, as this album proves, a competent guitarist. The spoken word section in "The Boy Who Could Fly" is a perfect example of this visual style of storytelling. Although the lyrics suffer a little bit from the familiarity of the themes of love-gone-bad often found in related bands' lyrics, one can't help but be impressed by some of the clever one-liners Vic delivers, with lead single "Caraphernelia" offering some of the best of these (as well as a guest spot by veteran screamer/pop-punk icon Jeremy McKinnon, which actually strengthens the track whether than weakens it.) There are even some surprising lyrics in songs that may catch the listener off-guard with their subject material, such as in "Fast Times At Clairemont High" and "Million Dollar Houses (The Painter)". Along with the lyrics being surprisingly good, Vic's vocals have improved vastly from his band's previous album. Whereas one of the main draws on the previous album was Pierce's combination of atmospheric, creative riffs and Vic's high-pitched, almost feminine whailing. Perhaps as a side effect for singing in Isles and Glaciers with similarly-grouped vocalists Craig Owens and Jonny Craig, Vic's voice soars triumphantly over every song, but the difference in THIS album is his voice simply isn't as sharp and takes on a more swooning characteristic. The listener never feels bombarded with the piercing enunciations that occurred in A Flair For The Dramatic. Whatever the cause, the new transformation in Vic's vocal style doesn't change its tone, but he sounds like a better frontman overall.
Overall Impression — 8
I really can't compare Selfish Machines to anything else that has come out this year. It is full of twists and turns, and brings listeners on a journey that may catch many music fans by surprise. The truth is nobody expected Pierce The Veil's second effort to be this good. With little to no hype or promotion, it's good to know that Pierce The Veil have the passion and talent in them to follow up a pretty different, reputable album with a record that may put them in the big leagues. Only time will tell to see if others catch on. The songs I would recommend for listening most follow: "Besitos, The Boy Who Could Fly, Caraphernelia, The New National Anthem, Million Dollar Houses (The Painter)".