In the time before emo was on television and in shopping malls, when the genre was still in its infancy, labels like Initial Records were instrumental in shaping the post-hardcore landscape with their lineups of Embrace and Rites of Spring-influenced bands. Standing at the forefront was Chris Higdon, whose bands Falling Forward and Elliott expanded on the sounds laid down by the genre’s founding fathers in ways that would be felt a generation later. Not satisfied with just being a footnote in underground musical history, Higdon has returned with Frontier(s), a new project that’s exploring an old sound. Their debut album, There Will Be No Miracles Here, is an exercise in mid-'90s post-hardcore, emphasizing a sound that’s less about massive guitars and studio trickery than a rawer, more melodic sound. The songs here feel don’t feel preoccupied with individual brilliance, tossing aside the guitar wizardry that’s become common in the genre in favor of a focus on a simpler and more melodic package. Higdon and guitarist Matthew Wieder weave in and out of unison, creating a sound that’s able to expand or contract at a moment’s notice, allowing a song like “Sea of Galilee” to ebb and flow between loose/jangly and tight/driving in an organic way. What’s surprising is that the album manages to capture that sound without feeling like a relic of its time. Perhaps it’s a sign of how far we’ve come from the melodic drive of Mineral and Texas Is the Reason that an album can sound both new and over a decade old at the same time. Whatever the reason, There Will Be No Miracles Here will give the younger generation a glimpse of how the old guard did it, while letting the listeners who remember buying records from distro catalogs take a trip down memory lane.
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AllMusic Review by Gregory Heaney