Artist: Get Scared
Album: Built for Blame, Laced with Shame EP
Genre: Alternative, post-hardcore
Label: Grey Area Records
One needs some endurance for this EP. It’s only 21 minutes long but it’s on fire. In the deranged, frenzied, embodiment-of-pure-madness way, and this is not always a good thing. It is unfortunate, as I remember being quite pleasantly surprised by Get Scared’s debut Best Kind of Mess about this time last year, and the band has certainly displayed impressive work ethic in putting out not one but two EPs since. They’ve also undergone some line-up changes, losing vocalist Nick Matthews and replacing him with Joel Faviere, late of Dear Chandelier. Faviere is a more than worthy choice to fill Matthews’ high-pitched shoes, but Built for Blame, Laced with Shame is a little too uneven for my tastes. It is a fine listen and comes laden with the kind of manic theatrics that so endear the band to so many, along with a surprising depth and variety in its sound. However, certain songs are a little too OTT and their excesses can tend to derail the EP.
None of this is immediately apparent from “Built for Blame,” a suitably stunning opener that goes for the Goth and the crafted. It uses a morose string ensemble to open and then satiates same with smouldering guitars and typically wild vocals. Faviere shows impressive mastery of the spirally vocal lines and infuses the song with a raucous, deliciously cartoonish appeal. The song continues to unfold in an oddly lucid mixture of exuberant strings and metal, before petering into “Problematic.” This has a more harangued twist that distances it from the splendour of the opening track. Faviere’s soaring vocals contrast madly with the bouncing instruments, creating a sense of discord or conflict that ultimately undermines this song. It lacks the lustre of its predecessor and seems like a premature downturn. “Cynical Skin” is brash and coarse but hugely appealing, the reappearance of pounding strings animating it and the chorus acting as a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it injection of velocity.
What tends to unravel the EP is the band’s tendency to wander into grossly excessive territory in an effort to make an impact, as evidenced in “Keep Myself Alive.” A harrowed and shrill song, its verses are exemplary – quiet, piercing, with Faviere’s voice heightening the sense of abandon. However, the chorus is filled with vitriol and recklessness and pushes it overboard, destroying the song’s real appeal with heavy-handed brutality. By contrast, “Start to Fall” is lush. The band use harmonies rather than blunt instrumentation to capture the manic tendencies and in so doing create a song that’s downplayed and alert.
“Don’t You Dare Forget the Sun” plays to similar strengths, with less focus on the madness and visceral streak (although the instruments do live in a rampaging world of their own). It has a sense of resolution to it and this makes it alluring – if for no other reason than it stands out amidst the earlier, nuttier efforts.
The tendency to overdo things here may polarise some, although it could equally be argued that such demented extravagances are an integral part of the band’s sound. The showiness and absolute rejection of boundaries ought to go down well with the fans and the obvious heart and enthusiasm here is difficult to reject outright. For me however, they undo some of Built for Blame, Laced with Shame’s not inconsiderable appeal and leave it feeling fragmented, the quality too often lost amid the excess.
Review written by Grace Duffy