It is impossible to deny that A Skylit Drive is nothing short of a scene powerhouse. Over the course of nearly four years and three releases, the band’s combination of high-pitched vocals, (usually) well-placed screams, and technically proficient post-hardcore instrumentals earned them legions of rabid fans. Yet, while 2007’s She Watched The Sky EP and 2008’s Wires… And The Concept of Breathing were well above average, and even, at times, stunning. 2009’s Adelphia, despite some strong moments, largely underwhelmed many fans and critics alike. Of course, with Identity On Fire, one of the first major scene-core releases of 2011, the band quickly proves that Adelphia was a minor misstep, as they have created the perfect snapshot of what post-hardcore should sound like this year as they continue to search for their own musical identities in what is now a crowded, congested musical landscape.
The album begins with the gang vocal-heavy introduction “Carry the Broken.” It is clear from the first 30 seconds that this album will be above the usual standard of the scene, as the gang vocals, which typically come off as contrived when used by most acts, carry an emotional power that sets the stage for the sparse instrumentation and high-pitched vocalizations that leads into “Too Little Too Late,” a musically dense, vocally emotional track that defines the best and worst of A Skylit Drive’s sound. While the verses, refrains, and instrumentation are tight, catchy, and exciting, and the song itself will probably be among the better scene tracks released this year, they are still standard scene fare, in both their structure and their sonic elements. Synth lines weave their way through the verses, and a chugging breakdown makes up the bridge of the song. Indeed, this seems to be the case for most of the album: extremely enjoyable yet conceptually unoriginal. From the frantic atmosphere of “Conscience Is A Killer,” to the arena-ready “Fuck The System,” to the heartfelt twinkles of “500 Days of Bummer,” and everything in between, the band’s sound on much this record follows the standard scene formula, with the levels of screaming and singing adjusted on a per-song basis. Yet, to acknowledge that the band largely sticks to the scene formula on this record is not to deny the fact that there is still some experimentation present. The sparkling electronics at the beginning of “The Cali Buds,” the crushing growls of “Tempt Me, Temptation,” and even the excessive catchiness of “Too Little Too Late” are all indications of expansion into three dramatically different musical areas, and clearly hint at a bright future for A Skylit Drive. While the band has not found a unique identity for themselves just yet, it is clear that they are trying, and that makes all the difference.
Identity On Fire is, in a word, a great release. Despite A Skylit Drive’s continued reliance on the scene’s trademark elements, this release makes it obvious that the band is growing in several different directions. In the search for their own, unique identity, the band has found some strands to follow. Even so, with a release as strong as this under their belts, the future for A Skylit Drive will be on fire.
2. Too Little Too Late
3. XO Skeleton
4. Conscience Is A Killer
5. Ex Marks The Spot
6. The Cali Buds
7. Your Mistake
8. Fuck The System
9. 500 Days Of Bummer
10. Tempt Me, Temptation
11. Identity On Fire
12. If You Lived Here, You'd Be Home
A Skylit Drive is a six-piece post-hardcore band from Lodi/Galt California. They released their first EP, titled She Watched The Sky, with Tragic Hero Records in January 2007 and the follow-up full length album Wires... And the Concept of Breathing on May 20, 2008. Now signed to Fearless Records, the band has released their second full length, Adelphia, on June 9, 2009.... read more