If you’re familiar with trancecore purveyors Cabin Boy Jumped Ship, you can certainly know what to expect from their debut full-length album, ‘The Heartless’.
Any melding of rock and metal with EDM has over the years proven extremely difficult to pull off well. It can range from the sublime (Enter Shikari) to the utterly abysmal (Design The Skyline), and ‘The Heartless’ sits exactly in between these two territories.
Having said that, there are parts of this album that are indeed very enjoyable, and they’ve got a more varied sonic palette than you might expect. Plenty of dubstep influenced sections make their way into ‘The Flood’, preceded by a build-up not too dissimilar from Enter Shikari‘s 2010 single, ‘Destabilise’.
Midway through the album, and somewhat unexpectedly, we reach a peak. Echoes of earlier-period While She Sleeps and ‘There Is A Hell…’ era Bring Me The Horizon make their way into songs like ‘Riot’ and ‘Save Our Souls’, the former being both hard-hitting and providing a range of sounds in its close. There are also some very strong choruses on show, namely in ‘My Last Breath’, and later on we have the piano-led ballad ‘Fly Away’, which may as well be a straight-up pop song. This is just about pulled off and provides some respite.
But, generally speaking, this album is very up and down; for every strong point there are songs like ‘Drag Me Under’, which feel all too familiar. ‘Follow Me’ has some strong hooks, but also at the same time has some awkward-sounding spoken-word sections. There are some adept vocal performances on some tracks, but there’s little emotional resonance provided, and there’s also further clunkiness such as the lyrics and delivery of “I know you are not innocent / You’re playing with the match again” in ‘The Flood’.
There are also moments where the band strongly reach for the archetypal metalcore tropes that we’ve all heard before in abundance. ‘RIP’ is so by-the-book, and Chris ‘Fronz’ Fronzak (Attila)’s guest appearance further ticks the modern metalcore 101 boxes.
While there’s some positives, the biggest drawback is that the consistency levels are lacking, partially due to the length – there’s frankly no reason nor rhyme for this record to be 51 minutes long. At best, ‘The Heartless’ is an intriguing listen, and at worst very hackneyed. This won’t exactly set the world on fire, but if you’re a fan of Cabin Boy Jumped Ship or trancecore in general, you may have some fun with this.