Upon Beauty Rests - For the Days We Fear the Air We Breathe EP
Record Label: Quickstar Productions
Release Date: February 14, 2008
Now one might wonder the correlation of a Chinese philosophy and a Portland, Oregon post-hardcore group, but it is quite evident that Upon Beauty Rests strives, and achieves, for such a perfect sense of balance. In their debut EP, For the Days We Fear the Air We Breathe, Upon Beauty Rests manages to put forth some of the most harmonious screams countered by the clean, relaxed trio of vocals that put the anxieties of (yet) another long haired, angst filled band to rest.
The album propels itself with the peaceful “The Perfect Things in Poetry”, consisting of the piano infused rock duet of Jacob Ashley, originally from Dear Whoever, and Matthew Walsh. The song caters to pique the listener’s interest at the crispness of the vocalists; assuring that their voices will not be forgotten amongst the chaos of screams to follow. And as such, the ambiance is quickly contrasted by the second track, “Another Failed Attempt to Cure the Addiction”, which features growls and high pitch swings fading from the main focus to the background at different intervals. Yet the song suffers from repetition and provides a painful reminder as how the entire album could have resulted.
The true perfection of yin and yang settles after the lengthy titled “Lord, Bless Our Imperfections for They Are All We Have Left” finishes its back and forward batter of piano solos and the harsh up and down flow of screams. The music definitely dives into the ‘screamo’ genre, with constant bellows and clichéd lyrics (ie “Oh God... Oh my every breath. Where art thou?”), but the music also balances with the soft solo of Ashely’s higher voice and in turn, the song finds a sense of perfection in both realms. And it is as if the listener begins to sense some shift in the equilibrium, “Ambivalence” provides another piano duet with a provided beat from ex Drop Dead, Gorgeous drummer Daniel Passera.
The album essentially finishes with the loss of a lover in the “Lines Full of Lies and a Thousand Roses” with tormented lyrics: “If the only peace I can have is crying over your shattered picture. / I'll pick it up off the ground and sleep with the broken glass.” The song also suffers a little repetition, but provides a dynamic shift of the two screamers, with the lower bellows accompanying the higher squeals. And as such, the listener would probably favor the higher pitched screamer who has received tremendous improvement since their 2005 demo (previously sounding like a much loved member of Alesana). The album actually ends with “My Only One”, but it functions only as a blatant opposition to the opening track, featuring only screaming followed by an experimental finish.
As for the negative remarks about the album, the guitar work of the group, while appropriate, is not very vibrant enough to laud heavy praise too; the lyrics also suffer a similar fate. The album itself seems more like an EP, by being drastically short and becoming very repetitive if listened in multiple successions. But most is forgiven when the complete essence of “post-hardcore”, which I consider the balance of screams and vocals, is achieved with flair. And while this nirvana may be short lived, quite literally because of the length and the fact that the group is already looking for another vocalist, it is well worth the journey.
Okay so for some apparent reason, the title says "...Breathe EP" which totally disregards the statement "The album itself seems more like an EP". I'm 99.9% sure it was an album, not an EP. Sorry for that