What ever happened to the day when emo had more in common with hardcore than with pop? There was once a time when emo bands were just as politically or socially oriented as any hardcore band out there. Bands like Endpoint challenged the status quo of the hardcore scene, and, although many times they talked about topics more personally relevant, they helped to bring about a change in hardcore by helping it progress from a sometimes jock-minded mentalility to a more sensitive one. Many question what has happened with emo since these forerunning groups disbanded, many of them leaving the hardcore scene behind altogether. For those longing for the days of the past, In Arcadia combines the hardcore influenced emo of Endpoint or Falling Forward with the melody of Sunny Day Real Estate to create a solid throwback to the glory days of hardcore emo.
The opening track, “Leaving Orlando,” starts the EP off nicely with some quiet guitar picking that bursts forth with shredded vocals allied with a tight melody. Everything is paced out rather nice and moves with ease from chaotic to melancholy. “There’s No Crying in Baseball” has a bit more aggression to it. The guitars have a frenzied and hardcore feel to them as the noisy riffs propel the song into chunky breakdown parts. Although not a total hardcore song, one can tell that the band has some roots in that scene. “Domino, Motherfucker,” the most interesting song title on the CD, begins softly with light drumming and intricate strumming. The track then moves towards its powerful climax with the added benefit of great instrumentation. Piano and bass are brought to the front of the mix, and their use really fills out the sound of the song. “Filler” is the last song on the EP and expands the technique that the band applied to the previous tracks. A mix of noise, sweetness, and controlled emotion bring the EP to a tight close.
Most of the lyrics hint at deep pain and grappling with emotions. Trust, pain, and friendship are among the topics of the songs and one can truly feel the emotion brought forth. The songs have been solidly crafted to let the listener into the heart and mind of the band, and one gets a sense of honesty in the tone.
Overall, In Arcadia’s music is intense enough for those looking for an emotional release, but also adequately somber. Listeners looking for nice and pretty emo only may be turned off by the vocals at times which range from elegant to hoarse, depending on the particular emotion of the song. This band is sure to to put on a great show live if they can pull off the same intensity as their recording. Emo fans that are sick of the purely pop should be enticed by In Arcadia.