The Orphan, The Poet - Translating EP

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The Orphan, The Poet
Translating EP
The Orphan, The Poet - Translating EP Review rating:
4
User rating:
Average: 4.8 (4 votes)

The idea of post-hardcore becomes more and more blurred with each passing year. As newer “post-hardcore” bands continue to infuse their music with a pop sheen, bands outside of the genre’s narrow confines continue to incorporate the dissonant guitars and sparse electronics that once defined the genre. Bands in the more progressive vein continue to walk the thin line between genres, crafting a sound that simultaneously hovers both in between and within each genre’s borders. Such is the case with southern Ohio indie-rock outfit The Orphan, The Poet. With no major venue within 100 miles of their hometown, and thus no solid music scene to speak of, the band has honed their craft far away from the oversaturated, dime-a-dozen markets found all over the United States, and this fact shines on their second release, the Translating EP. Combining the more dissonant aspects of post-hardcore with the emotion usually found in bands such as Circa Survive, the group has created a solid effort that will surely please fans all over.

The EP begins with the aptly titled “Sleeping Giants,” which introduces the band as a chaotic, explosive act heavy on frenetic guitar work. The song, with its relative catchiness, is perhaps the best way to hook onto listeners before the band embarks into more atmospheric, progressive territory. Following up this opener is “Turncoat,” which introduces the concept of harmony to complement the explosive discord found on the first track and that continues through this track. The song is energetic and catchy while introducing hints of sober and somber elements of the band’s work. Yet, while enjoyable, both tracks pale in comparison “Water Seeker.” Indeed, the song presents the first two tracks as mere preludes meant provide insight into the different elements of the band’s sound that combine to showcase the band’s full potential for the first time in “Water Seeker.” The song begins with vocal harmonization over soothing guitar work, eventually leading into a quiet explosion of discordancy propelled forward by the masterful guitar and drum work. The dynamic between discord and melody on this track, combined with the trade off between Iselgroth’s voice and the angelic harmonies, gives this track reason to be the record’s best.

“Water Seeker,” aside from being a high point of the album, also proves to be a fitting turning point between the EP’s explosive first half and more atmospheric second half. “Black And White Photography,” is a fitting title, for it, for the first time, provides the basic sketch of this aspect of the band’s sound. The soft synth loops at the beginning of “Black And White…” set the mood for Iselgroth’s mid-range croons, while the drums, bass, and guitar create the moody soundscape that his voice so skillfully navigates. Together, working as a seamless unit, the band is able to provide a track filled with atmospheric harmony and discord, excellent lyrics, and fake-outs intended to poke fun at junkies of formulaic music. Following up this track is the closer “Invincible,” which is yet another contender for the record’s best song. The track begins with drum hits, soft guitar strumming, and yearning lyrics that go beyond the standard scene fare to introduce a certain literary quality. Iselgroth constructs a beautiful patchwork of words as he “burden[s] tomorrow to find a better man in us all,” and leaves the listener with not only a love for the band’s more experimental, atmospheric tracks, but with a desire to hear more material soon.

Without a doubt, Translating is an excellent release. The band has managed to create an excellent progressive release without falling into the conventions that, ironically enough, trap most progressive bands into a plague of unoriginality. Iselgroth and company have crafted a wonderful release, and, if the world is fair, they will find themselves not only on a respectable label, but with legions of fans who love the music for what it is.

1. Sleeping Giants
2. Turncoat
3. Water Seeker
4. Black And White Photography
5. Invincible

From Dayton, Ohio

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