Since forming in 2006, emo-inflected Christian post-hardcore outfit Emery have not had it easy. They've undergone several lineup changes and even had to relocate from South Carolina to Seattle in order to find a more vibrant music scene. While it's admirable that the band has pulled through such obstacles to outlast heavier peers like Still Remains and As Cities Burn, the hard times may have taken a toll, judging from their uneven fifth album.
“The Anchors” is the song here that's most worthy of attention, the catchy melody and clean vocals punctuated by guttural outbursts which give the track a sort of uplifting passion, yet without seeming preachy or wistful (as is commonly the case in music with religious overtones). Echoes of that energy are also felt in the subsequent songs “The Curse of the Perfect Days” and “You Wanted It.” The rest of We Do What We Want, however, is a swing-and-a-miss. Each track has its good moments but there are no good minutes: Either the vocals clash with the instrumental parts of the song, or the breakdowns and riffs are just not noteworthy.
And while the slow-moving, soft-spoken ballad “I Never Got to See the West Coast” is a welcome respite from shrieks and screams of the first six songs and demonstrates versatility on Emery's part, it’s followed by yet another slow song for the finale. The sustained downward tempo shift is anticlimactic if you listen to We Do What We Want from start to finish. Isn’t the point of releasing an album, as opposed to a packaged collection of singles, to carefully craft the song order, in addition to the overall theme? The bottom line: Emery may have done what they wanted, but that doesn't mean that listeners will want the result—at least, not all of it. CONOR MYHRVOLD
Check out the track "The Curse of Perfect Days" from Emery's new album, We Do What We Want, below: