We Do What We Want

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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann

Emery have gone back and forth a bit in terms of the aggressiveness of their hard rock sound, with 2007's third album I'm Only a Man introducing a more melodic, keyboard-based approach, while the 2008 EP While Broken Hearts Prevail returned to the band's screaming heavy metal beginnings. The outspoken title of the fifth full-length album, We Do What We Want, seems to address the controversy about the group's direction, but its music, like that of predecessor …In Shallow Seas We Sail, seems to split the difference. In fact, the bandmembers exploit the hard/soft, screaming/singing dichotomy, with the portentous metal cadences of the lockstep rhythm section and the howling vocals bringing out the spiritual crisis at the core of the lyrics, contrasted to the keyboard textures and smooth singing that express the same message in a calmer mood. Sometimes, too, the screaming and singing repeat the same words, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde simultaneously present, as it were, and each agonizing in his own way. As the album goes on, however, singer Toby Morrell comes to prevail, triumphing over the inchoate roar and offering some hope of resolution. Finally, in the reasonable pop tones of the closer, "Fix Me," he spells it out, directly addressing his Savior for the first time: "Fix me, Jesus." Thus, the album traces a journey through personal hell to salvation, which is not all that different from the story told in other religious music.

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