Long Island emo-prog-rockers Envy On the Coast are trying hard to stand out in a world of Saves the Day and Brand New wannabes. It’s no easy task, and on the band’s 2007 debut full-length Lucy Gray, this quintet reminds us just how hard it can be. With melodic choruses, often answered by vulnerable screams (“I want black and blues!”), and dramatic pauses that give way to frenzied uproars, Envy On the Coast are doing their best to keep up with everything this genre demands. They pull it off; although it’s nothing radically risk-taking or experimental.
Lyrically, they're not as witty as Say Anything, and musically, they may not be as compact as Thursday but EOTC do have their own moments of greatness – most notably their affection for the art of repetition, demonstrated perfectly on “The Gift of Paralysis”:“I watched his heart pump blood into those veins/Throwing punches at ocean waves.” When the musical formula doesn’t call for a simple full-on attack of panic and rage, anxious guitar riffs delicately set the scene for a climax of dramatic outpourings. They hit all the expected topics of relationships, religion and death. Although predictable at times, the music carries enough power and eagerness to intrigue hardcore emo fans, and enough hooks and sing-along catchiness to entice the masses.
Having performed on last year’s Warped Tour and touring with Angels and Airwaves, Circa Survive and Cute Is What We Aim For helped them build up their chops. The band is now part of the first-ever Pac Sun tour, taking place this winter. There's irony in that. If you don't get it, go to the show to figure it all out.
-- Monica Cady
Envy on the Coast performs on Saturday, January 19 at the Culture Room, 3145 N. Federal Hwy, Fort Lauderdale. Tickets are $12 and doors open at 7:30 p.m. For more info, click here.