I'm not a pirate, my brother is...

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Mar 9 2011, 8h20

NOTE: I am semi-reviewing a "leaked" album here. I know, bad girl, but I was more or less moved to speaking about it and encouraging others to pre-order it, as I have. I'm not really interested in how awful you think I am for listening to or writing about a leaked album, I already know I'm an asshole. Thanks!

My brother, the prodigious guitarist of our family, prefaced my introduction to Protest the Hero's new album Scurrilous by grinning and telling me to give it a chance because the tabs he read were insane. I wouldn't expect anything less from Protest. Luke Hoskin is one of the top reasons why I don't even bother playing guitar anymore--because I'm easily discouraged and quick to give up and spend the night drinking my frustration away(although for the last eight months and the seven months I've been drinking plain old water and chasing it with antacids--not so effective at chasing the inadequacy away).

I paused when I read that singer, Rody Walker. was taking over with the lyrics. Sure, I love Rody--dude is a fantastic singer, he likes girls who can grow beards, and he took those spitballs like a champ in L.A. all those years ago. But Arif's lyrics made Kezia and Fortress all the more dear to me. Admittedly, I'm unapologetically feminist, my favorite books are history texts and historical fiction epics, and I spent my time in college(and a lot of free time) picking apart poems that were written hundreds of years before I was born. However, Rody's lyrics are not entirely divorced from the poetic sensibility and reflection that I enjoy from Arif--Rody's lyrical voice is a lot more straightforward, but without the ability to read the booklet and actually compare it was hard for me to know who wrote what without referencing Wikipedia.

The first song my brother played for me was Hair-Trigger, knowing that I'm a fan of Jadea Kelly's voice. The kid had a shit-eating grin on his face the whole time, obviously expecting me to freak out as soon as I heard it. And yes, I did like the song, but initially I was disappointed that it was "a goddamn love song." I immediately was drawn to the end of the song when Jadea and Rody go back and forth--but the nuances of the song took awhile to grow on me. After listening to it 3 or 4 more times I realized why my brother looked disappointed when I shrugged off the rest of the vocals as uniform and boring. And in retrospect, I obviously had concentration issues. The last thing any of the vocals on this album are is uniform. Rody is all over the place, moreso than usual. And as my brother promised the instrumental parts are insane.

So after disappointing my little brother with in our initial conversation I spent some alone time with the entire album. At this point, C'est La Vie and Tandem are probably my favorite tracks. The falsetto in C'est La Vie is beautiful, and let's face it--I've always preferred guys who sound like girls--and yes, I predictably love the lyrics. Tandem again has beautiful lyrics and melody. And is probably the best example, in my opinion, of how Rody's lyrical style can mesh just as well with Protest's vibe.

Musically, the album is cohesive, creative, and seems to be a logical move forward from Fortress. I'm not at all concerned about the comparative "metalness" of this or well, any album, to be honest. This is definitely not Fortress, part II--but has just as much relevance and forward motion as the albums that preceded it. I was going to buy it anyway, but the leak convinced me to just pre-order the damn thing so I wouldn't put it off. Sure I'm more concerned with the vocal melodies, lyrics, and themes of the album than the average Protest fan--but I'm pretty sure that overall, Scurrilous will be well-received by many fans(and well, fuck the rest, you can't please everyone). My only regret is that I'm probably going to be in labor while my brother and friends are in the front row at El Corazon trying to cop a cheap feel off Rody as he leans over the crowd...

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