Lovehatehero

Just Breathe

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The label of post-hardcore has provided undue shelter for too many big emo babies, but Burbank, CA's Lovehatehero don't fall into this trap with their tough and pop-savvy debut album, Just Breathe. Even in a genre defined by lyrics both elaborate and emotive, Lovehatehero stand out of the pack; tackling tough issues like teenage depression ("This Dream Called Life") and suicidal thoughts ("Second Chance") right off the bat, using the kind of obliquely poetic sensitivity that will get the girls all excited and teach the boys a few good lines. Significantly more straightforward numbers such as "Fall," "These Fists Are Grenades," and the standout "The Risk" ensure that those who fail to grasp the less obvious messages aren't left completely out in the cold, either, their arrangements often following suit to make them among the most immediate offerings on hand here. The addition of female vocals (ably performed by Juliet Simms) to "Theatre of Robots" achieves only the mildest of distinction for the song, but on the lengthier and more challenging excursion "Knees Bled Begging," Lovehatehero strikes a super-effective balance between musical dramatics (layered minor chords) and accessibility. This latest factor -- along with singer Pierrick Berube's always forceful, no-whining delivery -- may in fact help convince even the toughest contingent of semi-metallic listeners to believe in the band's cause. As for post-emo fans, there's no reason why they too shouldn't love this record, lest they lack all traces of a spine to withstand the harder stuff.

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