Silence the Wake

XOXOXO

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In the early '90s, Nirvana, Hole, and like-minded artists demonstrated that introspection didn't have to be a delicate, Joni Mitchell-minded, acoustic guitar-playing singer/songwriter in a small coffeehouse -- it didn't have to mean the graceful subtlety and restraint of jazz's '50s cool school. It could be a loud, angry, forceful, amplified sort of introspection, and that lesson certainly hasn't been lost on the screamo crowd. XOXOXO, like so many screamo discs, is all about angry introspection -- the members of Silence the Wake look inside themselves, closely examine their tortured emotions and express them in a way that is loudly cathartic, abrasive, and totally stream-of-consciousness. Screamo, of course, has become a very crowded field -- and at first glance, XOXOXO might appear to be the work of yet another run-of-the-mill band that has mindlessly jumped on the From Autumn to Ashes/Nora/Hopesfall bandwagon. But when you give XOXOXO a close listen, it becomes evident that Silence the Wake has more going on than that. There is no question that screamo (also known as post-hardcore or melodic hardcore) is the band's specialty, but unlike all the knee-jerk bandwagon-jumpers, these guys bring a sense of history to the table. At times, they successfully fuse screamo with elements of classic L.A. punk; they combine their screamo aesthetic with a healthy appreciation of early-'80s agitators like Black Flag and the Circle Jerks. XOXOXO isn't as consistent as it could have been -- actually, the album is mildly uneven -- but even so, this CD has more ups than downs creatively. Despite its imperfections, XOXOXO is a generally decent effort from a band that isn't content to be just another Nora or From Autumn to Ashes rip-off.

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