Narwhal - Sleep Through the Winter
Record Label: None
Release Date: August 5, 2008
The Alt rock/screamo genre has enjoyed relative success in the past few years, and with their mid to high pitched vocals and screaming guitar lines, Cali five-some Narwhal are proof of a genre that has caught on.
With their new ep, entitled Sleep Through the Winter, the Anberlin influence is clear from the get-go. Huge melodies, thudding rhythms and a solid wall of guitar contributes to a sound that would probably amaze... had it not already been established by others of the genre. While frontman Forrest Devitt's smooth vocals could do with a bit more grit and authenticity, they are impassioned and well-tuned enough to meet the high demands of the instrumentation. It is indeed the guitar lines that take center stage on this 6-track effort. If the record has a highlight, it comes in the form of the chorus on the anthemic "Wash Me Away," as the wailing lead guitar of Jarett Killen combines with a simple chord progression and a typically large sounding vocal melody to make a song that could serve the band well as an opus. It's a formula that Narwhal are well advised to exploit in the future.
Sleep Through the Winter definitely has its downsides, though. The production is slick and polished, suiting the record well, but there is a kind of laminate finish to the sound that makes it difficult to engross yourself in. There isn't much in the way of lyrics either; "You took my heart, and gave it to a thief/ Who knows my name and looks like me." What?
But let's not be too harsh on this Tustin group. They have, after all, identified a type of music that they like and set about writing and playing it to the best of their abilities. And for that, Sleep Through the Winter is a good record. However, as nice as the melodies and riffs are, it is far from budging the kings of the genre off of their perch.
Actually, they have not called it officially quits.
yeah i messaged them to play a show at my school for this ASB benefit thing, and Forrest messaged me back saying "we're not really a band anymore". from that, it'd seem like they're not really a band anymore.
i really hope that's not the case though, cuz i've been following them for about 4 years and have loved their material.