Favez (from lausanne, switzerland)

[Doghouse; 2002]

Rating: 2/5

Styles: emo-punk, alternative pop
Others: Get Up Kids, Weezer, Sunny Day Real Estate

Doghouse, the label home to such emo-punk heavyweights as the Get Up Kids, Chamberlain, Endpoint, Omaha, and Hot Water Music, has also been housing a Lausanne, Switzerland-based quintet dubbed, Favez. The aptly titled (from lausanne, switzerland) is the group's fourth album, acting as yet another excursion into the charted realms of emo-punk.

Instead of starting a debate or discourse on the characteristics that make up the dubious term emo-punk, just think of it in a broad, mainstream sense of the word. In this mindset, it's safe to say that a bulk of these artists are smothered in sameness and predictability-- which is why this music is sometimes really hard to review without ripping out pubic hairs. So, as I used one hand to place Favez' circular object into my stereo, I had the other hand ready to rip what took me a good 14 years to grow.

Thankfully, all pubes are intact and are flourishing nicely. Though I cannot say the music is very original, Favez definitely has its own style, incorporating a vast array of dynamic fluctuation and a plethora of moods. Using its guitars as the driving force, the album cuts through 12 songs that exhibit a consistent attitude and feeling throughout.

The album begins with "The Ages of Wonders," setting the tone for the rest of the album. The song is reminiscent of a Weezer song, and not only in its lyrics ("The ages of wonders again say I'm Sinatra and you're Sammy D / And we're both waiting for Dean to show up at the diner"), but also with its somber to uplifting mood changes-- a vital element in Pinkerton's success.

With every emo-labeled album, you can only assume that there will be a "J'nuh"-styled guitar rhythm somewhere. Favez do not take long to get there, as track three, "Show Me How to Groove" shows just how standardized the rhythm has become for emo bands alike. The track continues as the happiest and most melodic of the album, touching on the Get Up Kids, Weezer, and Sunny Day Real Estate.

The better parts of the album are derived from the breakdowns and buildups in the songs. From regular beats to half-time feels and distorted guitars to clean guitars, the album masterfully uses these dynamic changes to provide the tracks an exciting edge. And usually these breakdowns and buildups are instrumental, acting as strong as the sections with vocals, if not more affective.

"It Rains Like Hell" is unquestionably the strongest track and most interesting on the album. With a slow drum track and a minor-esque contrapuntal guitar arrangement, the song tears holes in your soul as vocalist Chris Wicky provides his most visceral vocal performance. However, the album starts to become weak during its last half, as most of the songs seem like a slight augmentation of the first half. "I Brake for No One" is full of guitar cheese and a sub par vocal performance, while the rest of the tracks seem to blur into one another without much distinguishing characteristics.

As I say with most of the albums that sound similar to this one, I think the album lacks personality and originality. But as far as emo-standards are concerned, this album passes colorfully and manages to stay a notch above the rest. Though the album as a whole doesn't have much variation, it's a good, consistently rocking album with enough variation within the songs to thoroughly entertain. I can confidently say that any emo aficionados will be pleased with this album, but if you're not looking for just another emo-punk album to rock out to, you should stay away from this album.

1. The Ages of Wonders
2. Someday All This Will be Mine
3. Show Me How to Groove
4. Don't Let the Riot in
5. Chasing Honesty
6. And It Rains Like Hell
7. Son of Steve McQueen
8. I Brake for No One
9. Come On Give Me A Smile
10. Live from the Kilby Court
11. Memories of the Ones We Hate the Most
12. Troubled Life Blues

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