The ability to use $30 words in real life is an incredible gift and is useful in making moderately intelligent people you hate feel like utter shit. Hence, such magnificence must be used sparingly. The Graduate could have just used the word “numb” in their album title but then that would not be anywhere near as melodramatic as the entire album itself. The use of expensive words, expensive production and pretentious but nonetheless juvenile art direction have plagued the once decent and idea-fertile genre that is now called emo, screamo or whatever.
I suppose it is a bit much to ask for something a tad new and original what with human civilization and intellectual capacity in steady decline and all, but is it that much to ask for an iota of imagination to divert some of the repetition of a sound well established in 2000 and effectively milked by 2003? Clearly the sensitive boys of The Graduate are not going for such an argument. These dudes can rock like the rest of them, certainly not like the best of them. Brian McTernan’s slick production serves its purpose by rendering the bombast in its clearest form. The guitars are loud and melodic, the vocals soar as the drums and bass hammer in an iron foundation, and let’s not forget the heavy indulgence of avant-prog keys doused here and there. It encompasses the evolution of the pseudo-genre from a cathartic and raging on life and the state of things to a tear-jerking and fist-pumping stadium filler.
The Graduate’s lyrical voice reinforces this modernization of profitable emotion. The words, while they likely hearken to specific, personal times and places, are just vague enough to resonate from suburb to suburb. Singer Cory Warning renders in his limited poetics the strife of the young, the broken dreams, the wants, the needs, the hopes, etc. They are all relatable, they all fill a void for the non-depressed depressive.
For all of the excessive grandstanding that stems from every aspect of this recording, redeeming qualities shine through, however faint. In some ways they go against their peers. For one, I’d believe that they’re not arrogant. Whereas with other bands like My Chemical Romance, power rock flashiness has gone from campy irony to flagrant truth, the Graduate have an occasional urge to boast, but will treat you just the same. Additionally, The Graduate steer clear of the all-too-common quagmire of cum rag misogyny of deceptive objectification that plagues their clones. Other than that there’s little else to like. It can be admitted that the sound itself is good and they’ll reach their audience given the right amount of promotion and function of all other the complicated mechanics of commerce. Nonetheless, Anhedonia blends into the racks at your local Best Buy.
Days Away – Mapping An Invisible World
Mute Math – Mute Math
Hot Rod Circuit – The Underground is a Dying Breed