Another band signed to Rise Records beckons, and this time it’s Pennsylvania post-hardcore troupe, I Am King. For a band with such a masculine sounding name, they’re awfully timid in places on their début full-length, but that isn’t necessarily a criticism. Timidity is just one of many charges that can be levelled at ‘Onehundred’.
It’s on the second track of the album, ‘Fallen’, where you realise that this band may make you quite conflicted in terms of actually warming to their music. The song is actually fairly catchy; the vocals have that typical in-genre thing going on where you can’t quite tell how much they’ve auto-tuned them and you can’t fault the band’s instrumentation whatsoever. But, you’re left feeling like there’s something missing.
Unfortunately, that’s pretty much the vibe you end up getting throughout the album, it feels close but no cigar. Sure, there’s some great heavy vocals strewn over most of the tracks which work well, but it feels a little too generic without being interesting enough to stop you yawning though the crux of the album. Songs like ‘Movie Life’ end up just being annoying, especially when they drag out the sordidly dull electronics that anyone with a passing interest in this genre has heard way too often in the past few years.
Try and differentiate this stuff with anything else out there at your peril, because it sounds remarkably similar to a tonne of stuff already on Rise Records and in other places. You can’t really begrudge I Am King for sticking to a, shall we say, familiar style because, let’s be honest, it sells and there’s less risk for a new band than them doing something outlandishly different to what’s happening in the particular genre.
It isn’t all gloomy for this band though, they prove right the way through this album that they can do the whole post-hardcore-shtick very well, and all the tropes are there for everyone to hear that will serve the band well over the next year or two before they release another album. Let’s just hope the next one offers up a little bit more in the way of creativity, eh, guys?
Written by Greg Spencer