Review by William Dibble of Panfocal Photography
The post-hardcore movement has seen a lot of evolution since its conception. Typically, this genre sees a heavy emphasis on screamed vocals combined with melodic, sometimes progressive instrument work. She Screams of Royalty blasts onto the scene with their new album, Lucid Dreams a Relationship. The new SSOR album could be compared to groups like Alesana, but its more of a blend between Alesana’s vocal style and the instrumentals of progressive post-hardcore groups like Greaver.
It opens with the minute-and-a-half introduction “I Wish”, which is a slow, quiet, and haunting melody. All this track serves to do, though, is prepare you for the album. “I Could Tell You” unleashes a blistering guitar riff and vocals. Right off the bat, this album lets you know it will not be taking any prisoners. The song counters its blistering pace and vocals with soaring vocals during the chorus sequence, mellowing out as well during this part. But only for a moment. The follow-up song, “How I Feel”, begins to blend a bit closer to contemporaries like Alesana, but only briefly, before sauntering back into the post-hardcore rhythm the album is developing. The first three tracks really set the energy and mood for the album, and the remaining songs do not disappoint.
“One Last Time” begins to blend more of the higher-fret guitar work in during the verse, lending the album’s sound a bit of diversity. It even includes some sampling or keyboard work to augment their sound, with an eery music box playing in the background. It is only inevitable that you will listen through to the next track, “It’s Inevitable”. It starts with a vocal introduction, before launching straight into a staccato of short guitar bursts. The melodic vocals of this song are ear-catching, standing out and inviting you to join in singing. You’ll be left to ask, “What Happened” as the song ends, and without allowing you to rest, launches into the next song.
“Just Know Deep Down” will give you a bit of a break, though. It edges into more traditional emo sounds and rhythms than the rest of the album, with elements of bands like Panic! At the Disco and My Chemical Romance of all things. This does the album good, though. At this point, though the music is top-notch, it might begin to blend together and feel formulaic. LDaR closes out with a quiet, haunting electronic track.
Lucid Dreams a Relationship is an excellent addition, overall, to SSOR’s discography. She Screams of Royalty does their home state of Michigan proud, and it would be no surprise to see this album gain some recognition. It definitely has the sound and quality to do so, and deserves a wide listening.