Laith, a Jonesboro, Arkansas indie, emo, and post-rock group, recently released their new album, Bonds, and you’ve got to hear it!
Overall, the album boasts an intriguing mix of styles that make me want to listen as many times as I can to truly experience everything it has to offer. Perfect for fans of Evanescence, Paramore, and Against the Current, Bonds is an impressive performance for the group’s debut full-length.
“Corona,” the first track of the album, features spoken word-style lyrics and saturated instrumentals. While I enjoy the underlying basslines and lyrics—”Heart like a comet, going fast and frigid/Leaving a trail none ought follow except from far away—”Corona” is a bit too chaotic for my taste, although it may be better for fans of busy music .
The second track, “Comets for Eyes,” begins in a calmer manner. I love the title! With Evanescence-esque vocals and echoing guitar parts, it is a lot more my speed. The mix is well-balanced and allows each part to move independently while simultaneously weaving together to form a quietly powerful track. The transitions between male and female vocals works very well in their suddenness, acting as a conversation with each other, presenting the lyrics frankly:
“I can see you now,”
“Pristine colors surround me,”
“Please don’t leave me,”
“Come out of the darkness and back to me…”
“Ringing” picks up the pace from the previous tracks. Persistent, hollow drum beats reminiscent of a marching line mix with an insistent, reverberating guitar to create a mellow, ambient aesthetic. The rest of the song follows this pattern, incorporating some cymbal hits and vocal duets that lead into the surprising introduction of screams. While I see how they might add to the song, I want them higher in the mix as the focal point so I can really feel them in my chest if they’re going to be there.
“Get it Right” begins by relaxing me with some acoustic guitar before heightening the energy with a driving bassline and sweeping vocals. The highs and lows of energy work well for this track; I feel like I’m being moved along on a journey of differing speeds, but I’m given enough time to appreciate each moment. The vocal harmonies in “Get it Right” are superb as they echo the ups and downs, adding to the feelings of movement.
The fifth track, “Endless,” incorporates heavier vocals in a way I really enjoy. Although it begins with dreamy, mellow tones and lyrics—”For days I sleep/Stuck in an endless painkiller dream/With arms outstretched to you/Come pull the curtains back/The sun bleeds in….”—the vocals soon blend with screams, emphasizing their meaning in greater depth. The bassline of “Endless” provides a steady backing that suits the song and allows the rest of the band to build upon it nicely as well.
The drum beats of “Because” add a lot to the sixth track of the album, setting a darker tone for the instrumentals. Like “Endless,” there is a fantastic mix of quietness and energy created by contrasting vocals with the addition of tempo shifts in just the right places in “Because.” At the perfect moments throughout the song, the tempo changes alter the energy, especially at 2:36, when we get to hear more of the bare bones of the vocals to appreciate the lyrics: “Two years clean but/Narcotic fits still rage inside of me….” After the dramatic but purposeful delivery of these lines, we’re plunged into a story told creatively through sound to bring the track to a close.
The vocals of “Y” are haunting, yet sincerely delivered in fantastic phrasing. Propelled by an increasingly hasty drum beat, the track builds and accelerates into a vocal duet and then a short instrumental section. There is a lot going on in “Y,” but somehow every little piece fits together perfectly to create a beautiful, powerful puzzle that asks, “Why can’t I get it right?” Although we don’t get a definitive answer, “Y” will make listeners think about the reasons for their own self-questioning during its bass-laden final moments that literally lead seamlessly into the next track.
“Worse” begins with many of the same musical themes presented in “Y.” Again, the lyrics are haunting: “My dependency has me too far gone/And I swear, I’ll get help….” I like that the vocals and instrumentals each get their time to shine at different times in the track, but come together at other points to alter the intensity. I’m not the biggest fan of the synthesized lines in the second half of the song, but overall, I enjoyed the energy and emotion behind its delivery.
The first section of “Apologize” features heated instrumentals before the addition of vocals. The lyrics tell a sensory story: “My hair smells of smoke/But I don’t/care anymore…/So I apologize.” This track is one of the most vivid in my mind; if I was given it in a written form, it would be easy to read out loud as a poem. The instrumentals and musical elements serve to add even further dimension with the incorporation of more depth to the story.
The last track of Bonds is titled, “Better.” Keeping with the themes developed before it, “Apologize” blends into the beginning of “Better’s” air of finality. While the bassline could be brought out just a little more to give the lower end its moment in a punchier way, the vocals are effective in giving the song a nice range. With a whopping seven minute running time, “Better” incorporates many of the other songs’ aesthetics to bring the album to a proper close in a way that honors what came before it while remaining fresh.
To learn more about the band and keep up-to-date on Laith’s music, connect with them:
***Like all of my reviews from this point and on, a submission fee was charged for this post.***