Review by Shannon Shumaker
131 is everything we expected from Emarosa and then some. Stunning, emotional vocals mesh flawlessly with anthemic and intricate guitar work, providing fans with something that they’re bound to fall in love with while still expanding on their unique sound. The great thing about Emarosa, and specifically Bradley Walden’s vocals is their ability to pull inspiration from multiple genres. That massive sound that the band has cultivated over the years meshes with pop and even R&B at times, creating a very fun to listen to release.
“Hurt,” the massive opener, gives listeners a taste of what to expect on this album, focusing on Walden’s incredible vocal range and powerful voice. But even with the focus on the vocals, the big, anthemic and emotional sound that we’ve come to expect from Emarosa is still there. When the song explodes in the chorus, it’s apparent that this album is going to be incredible. While the transition between “Hurt” and “One Car Garage” is a bit rocky (the guitar tone at the very beginning of the second song just doesn’t mesh well) the song becomes stronger as it goes on, only building even more energy.
Throughout the album, one thing that really stands out are the vocal patterns in the songs, which can tend to sound a bit similar from track to track. Vocals start out fast and a bit staccato in the verses before becoming slower and more drawn out in the choruses. Again, this is something that fans have come to expect from Emarosa, but a change in pace (like that in “Cloud 9” for instance) is definitely welcomed. Instrumentally, however, it’s almost impossible to focus on just one element. From wild drum fills to intricate guitar work and groovy bass, the band has definitely stepped up their game on this release.
As previously mentioned, “Cloud 9” is definitely one of the high points on the album lyrically and vocally, but also instrumentally. The fast moving guitar work keeps the song upbeat and fun to listen to while Walden sings of betrayal and heartbreak so palpable that you can almost feel it. Another strong track is the following song, “Helpless.” This is where those R&B and pop influences really shine through, and by the time the chorus hits, you’re going to want to dance. Then, slowing things down are “Porcelain” and “Never” which provide some much needed versatility for the second half of the album. Up until this point, the energy on 131 has remained mostly on the same level, but emotions run high on “Porcelain,” showing us a beautifully vulnerable side to the band.
Closing out 131 is the reverb-heavy and hauntingly beautiful final track, “Re.” Everything from the strong rhythm section to the soulful vocals and stunning guitar work comes together for this strong finale, which is sure to leave fans feeling fulfilled and longing more all at the same time. 131 may not be a game changing record, but it is absolutely stunning and filled to the brim with emotion from start to finish, making it a strong release from Emarosa, and one that fans are sure to love.
Listen to "Cloud 9" or "Helpless"
STAY CONNECTED WITH EMAROSA: https://www.facebook.com/emarosa