Album Review: End of a Year - 'You are Beneath Me'

25 July 2010 | 7:27 pm | Staff Writer
Originally Appeared In

End of a Year prove themselves to be above so many of their peers

When Jacob Bannon signs a band, you know it’s either one of his side projects, something weird or something really fucking great. Deathwish locals End of a Year are no exception, falling comfortably into the latter category. “You Are Beneath Me” is the band’s third full length, and the latest instalment in their impressively ever-expanding discography. The Cohoes New York five-piece return with their unique brand of post-hardcore which amongst critics and fans has attracted criticism and praise in equal measure.

As Deathwish’s write-up proclaims however, EOAY are “your favourite band’s favourite band”, reflecting their genuine talent, originality and appeal. The latest effort illustrates their mastery of a now fully developed sound, trademarked by their recent string of EPs including 2010’s “More Songs about Transportation and Intercourse”. While the band’s musical style is hardly best described as angry, sounding more like catchy indie rock, the punk ethos of the band shines through with vocalist Patrick Kindlon’s deeply emotional vocal style and lyrics. The lyrics certainly make the album, his witty, often poignant lyrical musings revealing a profound cynicism and contempt for stupidity, which accounts for the title of the album.

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The album’s song titles reflect continuity with the band’s signature tradition of naming their tracks after real people. It opens with the clever number “Composite Character”, which features Kindlon giving instructions on how to “best enjoy this album” over a simple drum beat and repetitive power-chord riff. Repetition is a common hallmark of End of a Year’s musical style and lyrics, with many songs having recurring, ambiguous phrases accompanying scarcely altered riffs.

This is a start to finish album. There are no fillers, so picking favourites is difficult. “Jeni Leigh” has a particularly poignant quality, especially as Kindlon breaks into desperate screams over an awesome chord progression. The end of the song features several pretty female voices, before Kindlon’s cries return. Another strong point is the instrumental “Sara Hayden” which features an infectious drumbeat and emotive guitar riffs accompanied by resonant keyboards.

End of a Year’s “You are Beneath Me” hence prioritises quality lyrics and emotion above superficial, catchy sing-a-longs and cheesy breakdowns. In “Philip Jose Farmer” Kindlon questions “Is there any good idea lame assholes won’t steal?” Thankfully shitty cookie-cutter mosh metal seems to be all the rage and for now End of a Year remain safely original.

“You Are Beneath Me” certainly won’t be for everybody. Post-punk and post-hardcore is strangely often met with hostility in the heavy music scene because it breaks from the rigid lyrical and musical paradigms of the genre. For those with an open mind and an appreciation for good music, not just hardcore, this is an outstanding release from one of the more interesting outfits in the scene today. For mouth-breathers who won’t listen to anything softer than Stick To Your Guns, fuck off and go listen to the new Impending Doom.

1. 'Composite Character'

2. 'Charles Ewert'

3. 'Marissa Wendolovske'

4. 'Fred Dekker'

5. 'Louis Slatin'

6. 'Eric Hall'

7. 'Sara Hayden'

8. 'Jeni Leigh'

9. 'Bo Diaz'

10. 'Eddie Antar'

11. 'Philip Jose Farmer'