2 out of 5
Produced by: Brett Detar
Label: Takehold Records
And as we step back to the beginning of twothirtyeight’s career, we get closer to the bane of all music: that which just happens to be teenage god’s favorite genre: emo.
The band can be excused for this raw effort, granted the more evolved direction in which they took it, even as soon as the next album. But indeed, as Christ-fearing youths, Chris Staples and gang would deliver a fairly generic set of whiny-vocals crunchy rock tracks, with built-in extra sadness as a band member passed away prior to the recording (although the track to which he lends his name – Kevin – admittedly shows some of the outside-of-the-emo-box thinking that would guide the group’s growth).
To be fair, these are well played tunes, and delivered with requisite passion, they’re just not entirely memorable, save Stripped of All, which employs the off-time beat that made You Should Be Living such an aurally memorable disc. Elsewhere, the pluses are really only notable in retrospect: That Staples, though more clearly God-y at this point, isn’t content to lyricise basic rhymes and so delivers some thought behind his words; and the compositions have enough room to indicate a willingness to experiment… but playing strict emo at this point in one’s life just feels so right.
Authors; musicians; filmmakers – it is undeniably awesome to get your work out there at any point, and I imagine there’s a type of appreciation even for one’s earliest efforts, but it’s definitely good to be able to look back on a mostly cut-and-dry mopey God rock disc like Missing You Dearly and recognize how far the band (and Staples) would eventually come.