our score: 3.5 out of 5.0
Milwaukee's Promise Ring was a mainstay in any emo kid's cd library.
Their 30 Degrees Everywhere and Nothing Feels Good
epitomized what many considered to be the pinnacle of emo punk.
Even Very Emergency which found the band swaying towards
a more pop-rock oriented audience still managed to appeal to those
fans who couldn't get quite enough of the loud/soft/loud sound.
Promise Ring have thoroughly washed their sound of its early emo
roots. Quite possibly due in major part to lead singer Davey Von
Bohlen's brush with near-death and a brain tumor the size of a
grapefruit, Wood/Water offers a much more mature sound
than that found in any of their previous efforts - offering equal
parts Flaming Lips and Weezer, while continuing to instill the
Midwestern vibe which underlies each of their discs. This being
said, it can also be said that Wood/Water is without doubt
the band's finest product to date.
duties this time around is Stephen Street, a name most notable
for his work with The Smiths, Blur, and The Cranberries. His influence
is present throughout the disc, especially on "Suffer Never"
- a track which screams equal parts Smiths and Flaming Lips (circa
The Soft Bulletin).
Yet it's on
tracks like "Half Year Sun" "Letters to the Far
Reaches," and "Bread and Coffee" that we hear Promise
Ring at their most poignant and most personal - and these are
the times the band shines its brightest.
highest point, however, is the disc's achingly true "Become
One Anything One Time." It's here we find the band sounding
most like an American Travis with the surprisingly heartwarming
refrain "I'm just happy you stuck around."
Is At Home" is perhaps one of the album's lower points, but
for any midwesterner it's a song that's unmistakably true. "All
the lukewarm weeks at 60 degrees / Now we're hoping it's humid
/ Show us summer please / Once in a lifetime / Once in a while
/ Sun will shine on me" - a Wisconsin homecoming anthem sure
to enthuse prior fans of the band.
years fits of frustration have permeated with releases of Promise
Ring albums amongst screams of "they're not emo anymore!"
This time it's unmistakably true, and we couldn't be more pleased.