A horrible hack

The Saddest Landscape

You Will Not Survive

Year Released: 2010
Format: CD
Label: Panic Records
 
Reviewed by Andy Malcolm on Oct 13, 2010
I am astonished to learn that the Saddest Landscape is still an ongoing band with recording commitments. This is like if, erm, Embassy had reformed in 2003 and made an album. Who wouldn't have raised an eyebrow at that? So I can only wonder whether the Saddest Landscape is out to tweak our coat-tails, that this is some kind of elaborate joke. After all, they name the first song on this album "Declaring War on Nostalgia", and if this band have ever been anything other than a nostalgic revisiting of mid 90s emo then I guess I got it wrong all along. The Saddest Landscape were always all about stars and hearts and blood stained angels, and the lyrics of this song make no pretense at getting away from that "while we sang songs about love and regret, distance and loss, heartache and failure. and i still hear angels but you are long gone". And there's even a bit where Maddox bellows his heart out away from the mic with no backing. And that's where the Saddest Landscape lose me. What on earth is Maddox doing? I am sure this will make me sound like a bastard (fuck it, I am a bastard), but Maddox, you are way too old for this shit. This music should be the sound of 20 year old kids falling over and making a mess, yet unless Maddox is some kid of emo Peter Pan, he must be pushing 30. I even feel a little embarrassed for him. There are too many moments where the vocals get so ridiculous that the songs descend into some kind of ghastly emo pantomime, "Eternity is Lost on the Dying" leaves me speechless, and not in a good way. Which is why I am tempted to believe this is a wry joke, yet the self effacing humour of a band like I Hate Myself is utterly missing here. This feels entirely sincere. The music is solid enough, full of tearful emoting, spiralling guitars, twinkles, breaks, and all the sorts of things you'd expect to find from a band in love with the mid 90s emo. And if I didn't know the history of the Saddest Landscape I'd figure this was a competent slice of emo homage from a bunch of kids having a ball. Look, there is nothing at all wrong with the music. This is a decent album within its genre, well played and tipping its hat to everything that makes emo what it is, the Saddest Landscape know exactly how to craft a solid emo song but the knowledge of where this band has come from, leaves me lost for words. And those so so wrought vocals... I guess, I just don't see it as healthy to be confronting your demons in exactly the same was as you did almost a decade ago. Surely we all must move on sometime. Surely?

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