It seems that this review of a new record from a band whose music I dig a whole lot, is supposed to take me four times as long as a review should take. What should have taken a couple of hours, has ended up taking almost two days. Sometimes, technology is a rat bastard that just decides to have a MK Ultra glitch-day and wha-bam: my entire almost finished review becomes digital vapor. Poof - gone. Just like that.
Man, I had some really killer things to say about HE IS LEGEND’S new record that will drop on June 28, 2019 via Spinefarm Records and how Schuylar Croom (vocals), Matty Williams (bass), Adam Tanbouz (lead guitar), and Jesse Shelley (drums) played on their cross-continentally recorded record, entitled White Bat. Tucked in that regurgitation of many words and metaphors from what I took from this record was a formula that I had figured out the meaning of life, the band’s lives, and yours. Yep, after listening to White Bat. I solved all of my, yours, and the band’s lifelong questions and issues that prior to this; we kept asking and asking and kept getting unacceptable answers or no answers at all.
Unfortunately, the internet troll dogs ate the first version of my digital homework that could have changed all of our lives for the better and so, now you’re stuck with me clanking on my keyboard like I was playing Beethoven during a highly crescendo'ed, mezzo forte manner...only, you can’t hear or see my hands flying over the keyboard. Just know that I’m doing my best not to sob like Snoopy on Peanuts after Woodstock left Snoopy before a holiday, all the while hoping that you can follow along...and gain some kind of semblance of me liking or disliking the record.
Disclaimer: what you are about to read may seem like mumbo-jumbo or the rantings of a subject in a CIA experiment from the late 1960’s, but I assure you, that already happened and the byproduct of too much coffee on top of wanting to get this one in the books for HE IS LEGEND ASAP. Read at your own risk, keep your arms inside the ride at all times, and finally, good luck - we’re all counting on you! (Cheap quote from Airplane, I know, but seriously, we are counting on you to read and then use the knowledge collected to pre-order White Bat. You’ll find the link to do that by clicking here.) Now, on with the show!!
So here it is, track by track - White Bat from HE IS LEGEND:
- White Bat - I love the layers that are edgy and blended to create an urgency strummed by the guitar riff to the second verse on to the little interlude that is dark AF and lures you to stomp out the last part like you were trying to crush a tormented part of some crazy carnival gypsy tale. That giggle that is tucked in reminds me of one of those shiny plastic faced, life-sized, clowns that wear a cloth outfit...you know what I’m talking about, I know you have had nightmares about that scary mother since you saw it almost follow you with those eyes lit up from the big top’s lights...ya, that one…
- * Burn All Your Rock Records - and here’s the music for the chase scene that plays as you’re running like you’re wearing a Jenner jersey. The start of this chase becomes a palpitation that your heart pounds out trying to find a safe place or a spot you can hide your fears in for just a minute. The zippity-doo-da flair in the chorus mimics what is so GD nuts in the verses. Schuylar is spectacular in keeping up with the visuals that stream from this track and that polka-dotted, freak show, fake clown over a metal barrel, cracking thick records over his knee and throwing their sin into the fire. All the while, you’re sweating from hiding so close to that smelly burning metal fire.
- When The Woods Were Young - bring on the full on hallucination now, boys! While the melody is cracking between fast bursts of lead and rhythm guitars as the pace of a forest imp’s circle around a couple of captives, tied up sitting in deeply colored, loose dirt. He’s lip syncing with the vocal as his dirty clan bounces in slow motion behind him. The beauty of this track is that it swirls and moves the hazy fog in this clearing, but you beyond the trees around there is more to the darkness than just the heavy strolls that Matty plunks out.
- Eye Teeth - there’s an argument that is happening with one character in this continual trip. He’s not winning, at least not with himself, he is singing in the cloudy glass that could pass for a mirror, if not smudged by grime and residue from the walls of himself. Convincingly, he takes the choruses as the rebuttal and finally with the last spank on the drums, he resigns and gives in, opens his eyes and boom back in reality, you’re not arguing with anyone. You’re typing and the tune of Eye Teeth is what’s pounding out, tapping, tapping, and you’ve realized you’re halfway into the next track, and that you’ve been visualizing a very weird show based on the first 5 songs projected on the backs of your eyelids.
- Talking Stalker - there is a smokin’ sexy appeal that delivers the gold dug up from the bass line in Talking Stalker. It’s that kind that makes your head kinda swivel on those parts, and is emphasized by the fast brushes on the guitar strings. I love that this song has the word “weirdos” in it. And if there was a part two to my dreamy, vision above, it would be that part in the story where the villain finds themselves and might contemplate that proverbial thought of turning over a new leaf, but we all know what happens when the villian does that, right? Ya…
- Bent - and from the mini-solos, to the interjections of Adam’s squalls and riffs that are musical outbursts and magically placed in this track. I love that the drums are f’ing being violently pushed by Jesse’s arms and feet and casting out whatever needs to “get out” through his drums. Good move on using the voice box to make the deal that is about to be made more convincing. The harmonies in the song are amplified by a break, that makes watching the signature that much harder. “Don’t do it, Ethel!! But it was too late…”
- Resister, Resist Her - synonymous with HE IS LEGEND’S ability to take your ears on an up and down carousel slowing down and speeding up, this track’s double meaning is not as gentle as a ride on a smiling horse that’s impaled by a pole and attached to a big ass wheel might imply. I love the feel of the melody between my ears.
- * Uncanny Valley - Schuylar brings it home vocally in this track with the use of notes he holds til the beat tells him to move on to the next one. He has an insane amount of lung control and I think the tones of the guitar add to the fullness of the subject. This is one helluva track and it ranks in my Top 3.
- The Interloper - there are some killer parallels in this song’s structure that I love and what makes HE IS LEGEND so powerful for me. All wrapped up between the rolls of the drums, the airy tinkling of the guitar, and the backbone of the bass that causes the ground to shake and wake up. The reality that this track brings to the way humans can obsess on something; anything, good, bad, or evil, or pure. It calls out through Adam’s guitars. Then just as you’re used to the idea, the band digs their heels in and brings up the tempo a little faster. Where this track excels is the ride you literally don’t know you’re on until the song is fading out and you have to hit replay to make sure you’re where you’re supposed to be.
- * Skin So Soft - Besides being a smell-good spray for teens that oddly enough repels bugs as a bonus, this track opens up the mind like a flock of fireflies. From the start of this track they swarm in unison above your head and hover to just light up the dusk with the slow burn, green globe. And kind of torment both the listener and the subject matter of this love song, that instead is slow and mechanical, this track draws out measures with more pleasingly perfect harmonies from Schuylar and Schuylar? The feeling from the hook, punctures through the discomfort of the covet, and chaotically begin to be scrambled up into a nice quiche of love and its opposite. The band bangs out the last measures all at once as if we should all be surprised by the lackluster that love can deliver almost at the same that it gives you bliss. Just like the light from the bug’s butt...pretty, but attached to a bug, still.
- Boogiewoman - It laughs at you or are you laughing at it? From measure #1, a full on trudge of completeness, unconditionally poised conditional love, along with a seditious acceptance iis all wound up in the last song of this record. (Did he just say ejaculation?) The comparison between the two Boogies encompasses what HE IS LEGEND has reached for as a band from the jump. As the last track, it’s purposeful that what’s hammered out in the drums, and followed by the march of the bass that draws the guitars, and the vocals, are all put into a well-carried, yet divinely created velvety bag belonging to the giant that travels in and out of all music lover’s legends...
Because of technology’s glitch earlier that threw me off and made me almost pitch my computer into the fire with the Rock Records, and having to start completely over, I should wait to get really mad and ruin my computer! I think everything happens for a reason. Even this little inconvenience that took what I’d written and erased it into the great digital cloud somewhere up or out there, but made me start all the way over. You know, I thought that first review was pretty darn good, but looking at this splatter of me just sitting down and typing what each song said to me whilst they played into my earphones, I think I love this one much more.
It’s kinda out there, but I really have HE IS LEGEND to thank for the creative writing exercise that turned into a track by track explanation of an interpretation or what I loved about each track. In turn, creating this fable that accompanied the whole record White Bat as the soundtrack was playing was a haunting story that swirled in my head as a result of the songs played by HE IS LEGEND.
At the end, I can just picture the giant in the silence after that last track is over. And in that silence, he took the silk-woven drawstring and gently tugged both ends, closing the opening to keep the band safe from harm. As he lobs it over his shoulder gingerly, and starts to lope to the next time the story gets told. Because you and I both know this; giants, strange tales molded in the carousel horse’s expressions that travel with a traveling circus, is the purest source of where legends come from.
And because of this, this is exactly what HE IS LEGEND’S name now define what they’ve always been: a legend.
HE IS LEGEND |WHITE BAT | SPINEFARM RECORDS | JUNE 28, 2019
You should pre-order this record, right this minute. I mean, you need to have this for your collection, Lovelies. What if the Internet broke and you couldn’t stream?? Oh. My. Debil. You’d have to listen to old Metallica CD’s or that old hard drive that you Napster’d all that music from would have to be plugged back in, huh? Go get it! Or I’ll send the Boogiewoman after your ass...