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Envy on the Coast – “Lowcountry” (2010) April 21, 2010

Posted by rawkfistmusic in 2010, Envy on the Coast.
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Written by Andrew Hart

Nothing gets me worked up over a band more than a unique sound, which might explain the immediate attraction to New York’s Envy on the Coast, a band which defies genre and preconceptions.  Going by nothing but straight up “rock,” their newest album Lowcountry is easily one of the most interesting albums of what has been a rather lackluster year up to this point, and it’s driven mostly by some different-sounding stuff and a niche that just can’t be owned by anyone but themselves.

What Envy on the Coast does right is pretty evident after one spin of Lowcountry.  The band’s sound is unlike any other, led largely by some killer vocals that I’ll do my best to describe as a mix of Incubus and Madina Lake with a little Papa Roach sprinkled it.  If that doesn’t get your attention, then something on this album surely will.  “Head First In The River” is the most immediately noticeable tune that has an irresistible hook, and “The Great American T-Shirt Racket” is a brilliantly paced song that may just be the best song I’ve heard in a few months now.  The verses are cool and calm, while the chorus is certainly not shy about screaming out “now I’ve got a t-shirt to go with my scars.”  The lyrics are a bright point on this album, though sometimes they are used to merely dance around material that is already familiar to the genre.  Another of the album’s gems is “Made of Stone,” which an unconventional ballad that doesn’t really hit the mark until it’s climax, but it does it in a big way.

The biggest problem with Lowcountry is how front-loaded it is.  With most of the best songs towards the beginning of the album, there is a noticeable difference following the terribly useless intermission track called “*” (which is an entirely different pet peeve of mine that I won’t get into).  “Made of Stone” aside, much of the back half of the album is hardly memorable, and that’s when the song formula starts to show.  Envy on the Coast has a tendency to go low then high with almost every song, and it gets pretty monotonous by the time you reach the very lame “Just South of Heaven,” which is far lesser of an album closer than “Made of Stone” would have been.

Envy on the Coast has a really diverse and unique sound to their songs, which has sadly become cliche by album’s end.  Despite the cool sound to the band, the album itself isn’t diverse enough to warrant a ton of playthroughs.  I was committed to calling this the best album I’d yet heard in 2010 after the first two or three listens, but since then I’ve become less sure as I realize that Envy on the Coast wears out their welcome pretty fast.  With the exception of a few songs, there aren’t a lot of reasons to go back to Lowcountry, which is a shame given how much promise the band’s sound has.  Still, the album is definitely worth a spin or two, and for a bit, it’ll be pretty entertaining.

6.5 out of 10 – Download “The Great American T-Shirt Racket”

Rawk out to Envy on the Coast on Myspace and Facebook

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