The first time I heard The Longue Durée was driving back from the Holy Roman Empire's record release party. I was lucky enough to accompany a friend's band that was also playing and they invited me along. That was a nice gesture on their behalf since they knew I was a fan. Anyway, on some stretch of highway between Wisconsin and Minnesota someone quipped to me that the only reason I like Holy Roman Empire is because they have a girl singer. This little remark troubled me for the rest of the ride home. Because, if anything the majority of my record collection is almost free of the novelty of bands with a female handling the vocals. Sure there's an Ashes tape lying somewhere in a closet and I do own a couple of Samuel seven inches. I even liked Fifth Hour Hero's last album. However, for the most part I usually stray away from female led rock bands.
It's not really any fault of the female rocker population out there. I just personally don't like anything those types of bands have to offer. You aren't going to see me get into Paramore any time soon. And even though I liked a few Denali tracks, I haven't spent hours in record stores trying to acquire their back catalog. The thing is with most bands with lady crooners is that they are either too poppy (Paramore) or too indie (Denali). Don't even get me started on the cute country of Rilo Kiley or the multitude of screamers in token metalcore bands out there. I just don't like it. Sorry, ladies.
Holy Roman Empire, I like. I enjoy them a lot actually and obviously it has nothing to do with the fact that their singer, Emily Schambra, happens to have a XX pairing of chromosomes. The reason I like Holy Roman Empire is the fact they sound like some of favorite bands of all time. The Longue Durée is chock of full of Texas is the Reason type riffs coupled with a few Promise Ring guitar noodles. Almost every song on the album uses the classic 90's emo soft/loud combination that results in a swirling mixture of poppy rhythms paired with loud riffs that will no doubt get stuck in our skull for weeks on end.
I think it's just awesome that there are bands out there still playing this style of indie rock that actually rocks. Sure it helps that their singer likes to warm up to Kelly Clarkson hits, nevertheless, if this band had Garrett Klahn part II singing I would like them all the same. I hear so much that I enjoy on The Longue Durée, from the discordant bombast of Jawbox to the repetitive choruses of Samiam to the sullen dynamics of Mineral. Holy Roman's influences may be shown clearly on their sleeves but they also take them and make them all their own.
The Longue Durée is a great album. It will surely make my 2007 end of list. It might even crack the top 10. It has nothing to do with the fact that Holy Roman Empire has a powerful female vocalist. It has to with the fact that the whole band makes powerful loud pop-filled indie rock that reminds of the heyday of Jade Tree Records. Sometimes people say the dumbest things in vans on long trips home.
9.3 / 10
Posted July 5, 2004, 12:36 p.m.
Terror will be hitting the road in support of their Trustkill debut "One for the Underdogs," which is due out July 27th. Supporting the band will be Sick of it ...
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