RS rates the eagerly anticipated follow up to 'Hollow Crown' get the verdict here...
Although it seems like this Brighton bunch have been around forever, it’s rather grounding and almost shocking when you’re reminded that it’s only been six years and how young the Architects dudes still are. Indeed, there’s been much measured and immaculate progress over the course of those six years and four albums therein, but our dear Editor has beard hairs older than the Searle brothers and it was only earlier this year that frontman Sam Carter became of legally recognised age in the eyes of Alcohol & Gaming Commissions worldwide. They have a long way to go in terms of both personal and musical development, which makes the chances they’ve taken here just as encouraging for those who frown upon stagnation as alienating to those lamenting the loss of ‘Nightmares’’ mathcore workout. Architects surpassed the ‘difficult second album’ and ‘comeback third’ stages the easy way: they made their second album better than their first, and their third better than their second. Their fourth being better is ultimately subjective, but ‘The Here And Now’ is unquestionably their most diverse. The most noticeable alterations come in the preponderance of Carter’s clean vocals, the dynamics that intersect their rougher, metalcore roots with tooth-rotting hooks and the melodi-punk sensibility that expands upon the Converge-style riffing, restraining the recklessness of certain sequences and songs. Then, they’ll go ahead and throw something like ‘The Blues’ out there, an energetic blast which sounds like the band (especially drummer Dan Searle) are barely hanging on to the song’s meter. Massively anthemic choruses have also been a conscious inclusion. While still knocking out metalcore and hardcore potent enough to have you lot testing the full complement of dance moves as displayed in Sick Of It All’s ‘Step Down’ video, ‘Day In Day Out’ and ‘Red Eyes’ possess unabashed sing-along choruses. Carter belies his age with a leathery bellow akin to a tattooed roughneck a decade his senior on ‘Delete, Rewind’ and Andrew Neufeld from Comeback Kid will be happy with ‘Stay Young Forever’, seeing as he guested on its melodic rage. There are times, however, where the desire for diversity has them coming across like they’re trying too hard. Songs will come to screeching halts for the employment of disparate influences and sounds. It’s done well in ‘Learn To Live’, where a bouncy kick-snare pattern and punkish guitars add a choral middle eight, but not so well on ‘BTN’ where a Fat Wreck-meets-Hydra Head riff war stops on a dime so that Carter can wax poetically with eyebrow-curling clean vocals that skirt uncomfortably with whininess, before a misguided Radiohead moment serves as a conclusion. Architects have completed a study in contrasts on ‘The Here And Now’. They’re obviously moving beyond their roots, but they need to investigate the value of reigning and corralling their ideas. When they stick to a chosen path, even the adventurously sappy, electronica-based ballad ‘An Open Letter To Myself’, they’re focused and robust. When they try to cram 10 pounds of inspiration into a five-pound song, they slip up. Still, they’ve moved into adventurous territory and, again, it’ll be interesting to see what’s next.
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Put a fork in today, it's done.