Reviews Since By Man Pictures from the Hotel Apocalypse

Since By Man

Pictures from the Hotel Apocalypse

Was it really only two years ago that Since By Man unleashed their debut CD, We Sing the Body Electric? Granted, an EP in the form of A Love Hate Relationship was designed to tide over their salivating audience in between tours and writing sessions, but personally it feels like a great deal more time has passed in between.

Enter Pictures from the Hotel Apocalypse to blow away almost any thoughts of listener burnout or disappointment of any kind. Once you hit 'play', you'll forgive them the extra time taken, and then some. "Emergency and Me" comes out swinging from the off, reminiscent at times of Amen at their most venomous and also their catchiest. It's the perfect way to set the tone for what's to come on the rest of the record, all buzzsaw guitars and a scything vocal delivery that builds to the chorus of "emergency, emergency, motherfucking emergency!"

"Lactating Teens" and "Young America" both contain enough macho swagger to well and truly do away with The Blood Brothers comparisons that have mistakenly dogged this band from its' inception. Though they share a similar approach, Since By Man's fast-paced sound is far more rooted in that of not just traditional hardcore/metalcore, but also great songwriting in general. In saying that though, this album more than any other Since by Man release shows the progression made in terms on introducing melody and restraint, best evidenced on the tracks 'Insider Lines' and the electronica-tinged "Binary Heart Attack."

The guest appearance of Red Knife Lottery vocalist Ashley Chapman is a stroke of genius, whether it's her rabble-rousing backing to standout track "Quid Pro Quo Motherfucker," or the gentle crooning that underpins the epic, widescreen destruction of final track "Photographer Ex Post Facto."

Special mention must also go to the art student's wet dream that is the album's booklet. A collection of seemingly unrelated photographs depicting various scenes of discomfort or distress, followed by the basic, almost sparse black and white layout of the lyrics, that ends off with a bold declaration of "I AM THE LENS. I AM THE LIAR."

While this is not a perfect album by any means - identikit tracks "Match on Action" and "The Neon Wilderness" both sound as if the were stuck for ideas and felt the need to rehash a well-worn formula not once, but twice. Pictures from the Hotel Apocalypse is still for the most part a strong album, and a definite step towards what Since By Man are truly capable of.

8.0 / 10Gareth
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