Emery – We Do What We Want
Release Date: March 29, 2011
Record Label: Solid State
Before even hearing a second of the record, the cover art of Emery's latest album, We Do What We Want, will draw some sort of emotional response. The picture of the Bible with the album title inscribed on it paints a strong picture of Christianity today. The title is also an indication of the musical direction on the quartet's fifth studio album. We Do What We Want is basically Emery on performance-enhancing drugs – it's their heaviest and most melodic album yet.
Immediately, “The Cheval Glass” (which sounds like the distant cousin of 2004's “Walls”) sets the tone. It's absolutely jarring, as the breakdowns are relentless and quick, but also incredibly soothing with its harmonizing and instantly accessible hooks. The one-two punch of “Scissors” and “The Anchors” lets you know that Emery wasn't kidding when they said this would be their heaviest album yet. “The Anchors” begins with booming drums and some catchy call and return vocals from Toby Morell and keyboardist Josh Head until a jarring breakdown brings you to your knees. “Scissors” begins with a thunderous breakdown, but quickly transitions into frantic verses led by Morell.
Truth is, this is now Morell's show. With Devin Shelton leaving the band after recording the album, the clean vocals and lyrics were put squarely on Morell's shoulders. In turn, he delivered his most personal lyrics to date. Throughout We Do What We Want, Morell shares his dreams, fears, and faith in great detail. On the dark “You Wanted It,” Morell realizes that a faithless life has failed him while trading vocal barbs with Head. “The Curse of Perfect Days” is sure to be a fan favorite, with its layered vocals and perfect balance between calm and chaos. It's also Morell spilling his guts over his life, love, and family. It's themes like these, as well as free will, that separates this album from previous efforts.
We Do What We Want does a good job of not becoming stale, as they flash some sweet guitar work (and more earth-rattling breakdowns) on “I'm Not Here For The Rage I'm Here For Revenge,” while “Addicted To Bad Decisions” brings back some of the synth which is sure to please I'm Only A Man fans. Finally, the band does a complete one-eighty with the final two tracks, as they close the album in acoustic fashion. The melodies have never been better than on “I Never Got To See The West Coast,” while “Fix Me” brings the band's religious beliefs to the forefront.
We Do What We Want is far from perfect – the track sequencing is awkward and doesn't feature the technicality of previous albums (this is where they really miss Shelton) – it is still unlike any other Emery release. It incorporates ingredients of previous albums, they are just set to the extreme. Throughout We Do What We Want, Emery proves that their quieter moments are just as impactful as their knee-buckling breakdowns.
Great review. I've listened to a few of the tracks from this album, and from what I have heard, I can tell it lacks something that "In Shallow Seas" had, though I can't quite put my finger on it. Will listen to the full thing when I can.
I love this album. Actually, I like how it flows. Starting extremely heavy and closing soft, it's kinda different but I like it. I don't know where to put this album in their discography though. Drew, how would you rank it? I don't think it's as good as ...In Shallow Seas, wich I consider their best album to date.
Can't stop listening to the record, which is par for the course with anything Emery releases. This band is brilliant. I was afraid that not having the dual vocals would be a lethal blow after they used them so well on ISSWS but they didn't even miss a beat. And Dave's drumming...wow. He's always been thrashing back there, but on this record it seems like he didn't hold back at all. All the screaming was done by Toby though, with Matt and Josh as backup (and Josh is probably really low in the mix).
Like I said, "...In Shallow Seas We Sail" might get higher ratings, but I never really got into it. Of course I am missing Devin too. But there is still "Crumbling", thought this song has never been mentioned in any review so far. I mean, yeah it is on the Deluxe edition, but in my opinion it might be one of their best song ever.