Sunday, October 21, 2012
Set It Off - Cinematics
As I sit here listening to Set It Off’s debut full length album Cinematics, I try to find the words to describe the auditory excellence pouring out of my speakers. The words aren’t coming to me easily. They don’t fit into my usual “dark” style of music that I enjoy. They’re definitely pop rock, but there is something so much more to them.
It all begins with front man Cody Carson. By far, he’s the most incredible vocalist I have heard this side of Dustin Kensrue. His voice is a Swiss Army Knife. His beautiful singing ability and melodic runs can give way to intense screams and wails. It’s very rare for a singer of this type of music to be able to truly convey a sense of anger and emotion in his music without it coming off as forced. His lyrical content is as heartfelt as any I’ve heard. In “Dad’s Song”, Carson croons about his deceased father over an orchestral piano and synth violin in a way that makes one almost tear up. He beautifully sings the words “I finally wrote your song at last, sorry that this one came out so sad, every tear I had was shed for the man that gave me a better sense of life and meaning, to motivate, there’s no shortcut to success, I’ll wait for his guiding hands, my guardian angel until the very end”. It’s a gorgeous song, and a definite highlight on an album chock full of them.
Every song is lyrically from the heart. It’s easily relatable and very real. His vocal performance drives this home. It’s an incredible mix of heart, grit, and truth. I absolutely love it.
Now, for the music. It’s well produced without having that “overdone” quality that some major bands have. The album has a sticker on it that says “for fans of My Chemical Romance and Panic at the Disco”. I don’t think those words do this band justice.
While they share a similar punk-pop vibe, there is some major orchestration underneath the guitar driven rock. I’m talking full symphonies on every song. Synth violin, trumpet, piano, clarinets, other strings, it’s a buffet of sounds that comes together in the most impressive and beautiful way.
That’s not to say that the band can’t throw down. There are breakdowns and parts of songs that sound absolutely brutal. If I had to compare these guys to any major artists, it would be Emery, Thrice, and I might keep the Panic reference. They are heavy, but they don’t try to hide the fact that they see beauty in music.
My band had the pleasure of opening up for them in Columbia, South Carolina. They top off this
incredible album by having one of the best live shows I have ever seen, and I have been to a ton. The energy is intense. Carson is electric as a front man. He gets into the audience and engages them in a way that seems so natural that you just feel he is singing for you. His band doesn’t stop moving. Maxx Danziger, Dan Clermont, Zach DeWall, and Austin Kerr deserve an amazing amount of credit for the energy they bring to the stage and the album.
I have never been this impressed with a group that I had never heard of before. They deserve every bit of success and popularity I feel they are about to get. Please, I implore you… download or purchase Cinematics. This orchestral rock band will not disappoint you. This is easily one of my favorite (if not the favorite) albums of 2012.