Hemingway Pretend To Care Review

Hemingway Pretend To Care Album Review

Fuzz and grunge flood out of Hemingway’s latest release Pretend to Care, reminding one of a summer in the late 90’s.

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The Portland outfit seem to fit into their mold well, echoing the style of Built to Spill with less talent. Vocals drown to the sea of distortion and play along drums, with lyrics that everyone who has been to high school can relate to.

Apart from the semantics of this album, the flow throughout is solid, songs cling together in unison and are well displayed. Vocals ranging from almost spoken verses to shouting to drive the point home. The opener, “Constellations” leads with a chug and crash repetition of 90’s euphoria; off the bat we see where this is going. If you’re one who believes that the music styles of mid to late 90’s and flannel jackets wrapped around your waist really should have survived the turn of the century, then Hemingway’s have what you desire.

The third song, “So Predictable” begins the same as the others yet transcends into bridges and breaks, showing the ability to step outside of the styling that Hemingway seem so comfortable with; more power chords pumping over loud crash drums, palm mutes and spoken vocals, yet a second verse shouted reminds one of a young Brand New, followed by a bridge that reminds one of recent Brand New. Originality is not found here, yet the music is discernible to its own influences.

On the Hemingway Facebook page, the members are listed by only their first names. A notable notion to the album itself, while the music is well played and quality of recordings are good, this album sounds like music written by Ryan, Ben, Jared and Justin in Ben’s basement. Although infatuated with the idea of four friends making music together that they all love, one cannot discern them from their influences.

Near the end of the album is the Dinosaur Jr. riddled track “Southeast,” a fuzz bass leads into a octave slide riff with the same almost spoken vocals of a coming train and “no one wants to live a life alone.” Palm mutes and chugs lead into a melodic guitar riff of pull off’s and repetitive notes, building drums and vocals, carry you away as if the train had arrived, then exploding into another chorus. Well structured and with purpose, the album resolves leaving a lingering feeling to start it over and enjoy that 90’s summer once again.

For fans of Dinosaur Jr., Brand New’s first album, 90’s Portland garage rock

Andrew Corbit

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