Thursday, 8 March 2012

InMe - The Pride [CD]

Retrospective
Fifth studio album from Essex outfit InMe - released in February 2012 as part of the "PledgeMusic" scheme which raises money for Alzheimer's Society. The Pride is the first full-length album to feature new lead guitarist, Gazz Marlow, who joined the band just after the release of the last album and the departure of former guitarist, Ben Konstantinovic. 


To explain my feelings for this album, and to introduce anyone not familiar with InMe's earlier works, I shall do a chronological retrospective starting with their glorious first album.


Overgrown Eden (2003)
InMe's 2003 debut album, Overgrown Eden, was a surprise hit - spawning era-defining epics like Lava Twilight and Crushed Like Fruit. The album struck a great balance between clever guitar riffs and Dave McPherson's hoarse, youthful vocals which appealed to a really wide audience (myself included). 


The whole album had a fantastic sound to it, brilliant use of silence as well as noise, and a great deal of memorable tracks - in fact the whole album can be played from start to finish even now and it still sounds pretty damn good.






White Butterfly (2005)
Following Overgrown Eden, InMe released White Butterfly in 2005, which took a much softer tone - and as such it alienated many fans who preferred the more metal-sounding guitars and vocals. The sound was quite similar to Eden but sadly was a touch too "mainstream-friendly" and due to that lost them some of their audience (irony!). All in all, it wasn't too bad - but then again I like softer music quite a lot too.




Daydream Anonymous (2007)
After this came Daydream Anonymous in 2007, which completely passed me by at the time. It's not that surprising as there was only one single - I Won't Let Go - but in looking back it seems that this was a dabbling in progressive guitar work and timings with a few patchy rock tracks while still retaining those high, lighter vocals and slightly whiny tone.


In listening to the album through, there are a few genuinely great tracks here - like the intro Myths and Photographs - but they obviously didn't get much air time or publicity. 



Herald Moth (2009)
The main problem people had with this new album's predecessor, Herald Moth, was that the technical metal stylings were off-putting to new listeners and too far away from older stuff for older fans. You were left with a small group of people who applauded InMe for moving away from your common ground and creating an album that stuck with a new, edgy sound the whole way through, save for a couple of tracks that were bloody good on their own - I was one of these people. 




I really liked Herald Moth because it jumped out of the speakers and shocked you with it's sudden change of tone and it's unusual time signatures. It was a nice sound somewhere near prog-metal and slightly post-hardcore - which InMe seemed perfect for from the start. The youthfully genius rock anthems that defined Overgrown Eden seemed to be back, and the album took a much more aggressive, harsher tone in general. For a good example of this, look below at Single of the Weak's chorus (contains some strong language).









The main problem I found with Herald Moth was the vocals - although mixing it up slightly, it was almost like they asked Dave McPherson to ramp up his Essex accent and it sounds a bit silly. On several tracks, there really could have done with some gruff or gritty vocals and Dave lightly adds in some falsetto tones - it doesn't quite work on every track.

The Pride (2012)
The new album underwent many changes prior to release, with InMe's frontman, Dave McPherson, being quoted as saying that he had written an entire album's worth of material with the same sound and style as Herald Moth, which was scrapped. The band says that a much less musically-technical and more upbeat sound was adopted for The Pride.






The brash, gritty sound from Moth wouldn't work well with these lyrics, and they do succeed in making a sound that fits the positive tone. The songs blare out like anthems of optimism, not necessarily saying that everything is great but certainly that with some effort that we can make things better. The album itself is part of a scheme to raise money and awareness of Alzheimer's and this fits in rather than feeling like a marketing gimmick. It's nice to hear a band strive to write positive music, especially in a genre that too often relies on dark or edgy themes to gain popularity.



Each of the songs has a message that goes along with it - from Reverie Shore's belated but hopeful apology for past actions and Pantheon's defiant call to take control. However, some of these may sound slightly limp and diluted when placed next to the already obscure and mystical-sounding references used in InMe's lyrics - often coming off sounding a lot more whiny than the band intended.



There are still plenty of flashes of brilliance in The Pride - particularly some of the bass licks, although worked into the songs such that they don't really stand out, the are still very impressive bass runs. Overall, I'd say that the album is not quite of the same musical standard as other albums were.


I feel as though The Pride really fits in somewhere before Herald Moth - sort of an introduction to the heavier, technical metal stylings but not like the light prog of Daydream Anonymous. While this sound works and would have been great at the time, it feels like covered ground now and doesn't particularly add much to their collection.


InMe clearly still have the ability to produce well-written cracking tracks, though the direction seems to be a bit lost. Maybe if they keep hold of their guitarists for more than an album then they can get more towards a more coherent or creative future!

Conclusions

If InMe had released The Pride in 2008 then it may have warmed people up such that Herald Moth would have been better received. 

As it stands, it sort of feels like a step back to earlier albums while trying to maintain the alternative timings and some of the more technical influences they picked up along the way. 

While this may work in principle, in practice we find a fairly good album with some great tracks - but not as good as more well-balanced or adventurous endeavours like Moth or Eden.



All videos in this review are from Youtube and are kindly provided by
http://www.youtube.com/user/So0oOo
http://www.youtube.com/user/InMeTV
http://www.youtube.com/user/NeptuneShaun

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