Our Lady - II
Record Label: It's A Trap! Records
Release Date: November 15, 2013
Pulling influence from bands like Balance and Composure and mewithoutYou, Our Lady showcases on II what sounds a lot like The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me by Brand New. The third official release from this Springfield, Illinois 3-piece, II is a re-recording and re-mastering of April’s Dawning with three new songs, “II”, “Feeding Fields”, and “Balancing Stone.”
Opening tracks “Inurn” and “Coping” feature samples of Charles Bukowski reciting his poem “Bluebird.” Jesse Lacey immediately comes to mind when the vocals come in, vocalist Tim Williams has the same soft-spoken, reserved style that came through on Devil and God with spurts of Aaron Weiss. The ending of “Inurn” involves lots of weird, noisy guitar that’s a bit of a surprise with Bukowski still talking in the background. Haunting, dark guitar tones combined with the lo-fi, secretive murmur of Bukowski create a very gloomy mood to the opening tracks that set the stage for the remainder of the EP.
“II”, the title track, is a different breed of melancholy. The only acoustic track on this EP doesn’t succeed in differentiating the band too much or making them stand out in any way. That being said, Our Lady is at their best during these final three tracks, all new and noticeably improved if not too much different from their predecessors. I mean, sure, II is Dawning with better engineering decisions but these last three tracks are what makes the EP worth it. This is where the Aaron Weiss-influenced vocals reveal themselves most and the most honest and intimate lyrics seep through. “Well I never thought I’d ever see you pray for anything / So burn like you wanted to, it feels like hell” from “Balancing Stone” are the only lyrics on the record where the screamed portion doesn’t feel out of place and uncomfortable, but appropriate and even critical to the track.
There’s nothing very urgent or powerful about the vocals, which is one of the most important qualities of any memorable emotional hardcore band, although there is something here that hasn’t been fully fleshed out, fully utilized that would greatly benefit the band. Our Lady are definitely on the right track, they just need to make their sound more of their own.