Subtle Way, The - Thus Far The Channels Speak
Release Date: December 15th, 2009
Record Label: None
At first listen, The Subtle Way sounds nothing more then your run-of-the-mill synth lead post-hardcore band. After a few listens of their sophomore full length album, Thus Far the Channels Speak, itís become clear that this band has something to prove. The band has improved drastically since their previous EPís and first full length, Against Our Own Retreat. Soon after the release of this album, lead vocalist Jamie Tahirkheli left the band. It was partly due to personal reasons, but it was also because he had to deal with some musical differences between the band and him. Itís quite a shame; he was a fantastic vocalist and had a big part in writing and creating what has become of the band. Case in point: Thus Far the Channels Speak. The strongest point about this album is how well the band manages to capture a distinct sound with every song. One song could be poppier with more vocal harmonies, and the next track could pack a punch with its breakdowns and intense screaming vocals. The band just does such a good job at being themselves, and itís proven throughout Thus Far the Channels Speak.
"Hardwired and Inspired" kicks off the album after the intro, and is probably my least favorite song on the album. I can understand why it was chosen to be an opening song, itís fast and catchy, but it just didnít catch my attention as much as the other songs did. "You and What Army" shows how much Jamie can flex his screaming vocals, and though the production quality on his screaming moments aren't too great, heís a very good screamer. His singing is top notch though - heís able to hit so many good pitches, with help of auto-tune though. This band is one of those rare examples where the auto-tune didnít bother me as much as it usually does. The band is so technical with itís synth that the auto-tune just fits. It doesnít really ruin his voice much either. "The Breath and the Breathing" shines on a lyrical level. ďCome on and sing along with love/Come on and sing along with meĒ is a very catchy and easy to remember chorus line that I always find myself singing along to. Unfortunately, the bands keyboard player Trevor left the band due to his lack of help when writing the keyboard parts for the album.
"The Getaway" is the poppiest song on the album and certainly my favorite. The chorus is so catchy and the entire song is just fun and easy to sing along with. The synth really helps the song out a lot, contrasting with most bands, which just completely go overboard with their synth and that ends up ruining them. The Subtle Way knows just how to put it in and what to do with it. Itís mostly background sound in this song, but it helps the catchiness of it all. Someway or another, this band always manages to throw some southern rock at you and thatís what we get with "Clockwork." Everything from the guitar riffs to the overall sound is influenced heavily by southern rock. The song is fast and really shows the heavier side of the band as we get more into their harder side of the album.
"This Ainít No Fashion Show" is the heaviest song on the album, and you can tell just by the first minute of the song. The double bass is nailed fast and hard, and the breakdowns in the song work extremely well. Drummer Nay Michael Vu really gets to showcase how good of a drummer he is all the way through this song. His double bass abilities are amazing and, all around, he is a solid drummer. The Subtle Way knows where and when to use a breakdown, and every time they throw one in, it works perfectly. They certainly pack a punch every time one shows up. "Delayed Reflections" also does a fantastic job of demonstrating how good the band is at creating breakdowns. It seems as the album progresses, the sound gets harder and harder, and it works great because the album ends with a bang. "The Pride in the Print" features an amazing piano-sounding synth rhythm in the background that leads into a very hard breakdown.
"Bolder than Boulders" is an extremely catchy and fast song that would work perfectly as a song to play live. It has breakdowns, is easy to sing along to and features a great vocal performance from Jamie. "Where Cowards Hide" has everything the band can throw at you. It hits with breakdowns, some really great vocal moments and a killer synth that really steals the show at times. One thing about Jamie that nobody will ever forget is his song-writing ability. It could influence some people, but even if itís not, each song manages to hold a few memorable lines. Overall, the lyrics really helps separate the band from the rest of the synth/post-hardcore bands around.
Though the band has suffered a great loss with the departure of Jamie, The Subtle Way can continue to go very far with their music. Many people may find that this band has nothing to offer in the genre, but this album shows just how creative and interesting this band really can be. Hopefully the band can shake off the past and find another great vocalist, but letís all hope they donít decide to change. They're fine right where they stand now.
Greatband. Saw them live a couple times, and they're really fun to watch. I would say this album was good, but it sounded like they were starting to sound like the many synthed out, autotuned hardcore bands. I really hope they change that and bring in more creativity like some of their past works.