I Can Only Blame Myself
Key Tracks: "I Can Only Blame Myself," "Castles," "Have You Already Forgotten My Name"
Dear You just released my favorite pop-punk EP of the year so far. I Can Only Blame Myself is as sonically gorgeous as it is moody. With build ups as epic as The Hotelier and vocals bringing out my own broken voice, these six songs are miles above anything the band has released before. Nasal yet vicious, fine yet anxious, and furious yet soothing, this EP spans various tones and moods with talented songwriting and dynamics that many scene veterans do not do as rambunctiously.
Since when do recordings start out with enchanting gang vocals? It caught me off guard with the reflective guitar riff and the devastating vocals of opening title-track ‘I Can Only Blame Myself’, and it’s the unknown questions within the lyrics that give off even more bite from vocalist Chris Roach. His voice sounds like it might break at any minute, but he maintains his composure while hitting rougher and rougher notes in his range, like the distinctive crack in his voice at the end of the chorus in anthem banger ‘Shipwreck.’ ‘Maybe I Didn’t Feel A Thing’ speeds its way through rough harmonized vocals (which kind of bug me) but give enough room to breathe through the next part.
The musicianship is its own unique beast. ‘This Is How You Rewrote Yourself’ has a musical theme that carries the song the entire time. The miraculous builds and with an ever quicker fallout almost instinctively follow life (and this EP’s) frequent ups and downs. ‘Castles’ goes from quiet verses to screaming choruses with an explosion happening in the bridge, leaving the band to pick up the pieces for the grand finale. Maybe it’s all the angst in the genre itself, like that found crawling all over final track ‘Have You Already Forgotten My Name’, and out of nowhere the band stops. All that is left is the quiet swell of a guitar and scattered drums before Roach blows through the mix with an emotionally devastating ending verse. The only problem is the damned echo on his voice, I wish his vocals were left raw and untouched, the swirling of the guitars also took away from this pure emotion for me, but you can tell he gave it all.
I Can Only Blame Myself is an ambitious reach for a small Texas band but they absolutely hit the nail on the head. Dear You is one of the more exciting bands to release a bedroom recorded EP this year.