2014 seems to be the year that 90’s emo is making a huge comeback. This is partially due to awesome young bands making new music reminiscent of the sound that started the genre some 20 years ago. Muscle & Bone’s debut LP Peace & Light is yet another stellar emo album released this year that combines both new and old influences, giving a fresh take on an older sound.
The album opens with “XO,” which AbsolutePunk appropriately pointed out the song’s likeness to old Weezer. With a comparison like that, you know this album immediately sets expectations high. From then on, tracks connect to the emo genre from several different angles. Pop-punk influences are heard throughout, from the vocals in “Keep Sinking” to the entire vibe of “Direction.” Even with definite 90’s influences coming from “Neither the Vine, Nor the Branch,” modern emo takes a strong lead in “I Am An Oak” and “Drag Your Dreams,” with vocalist Travis Roberts singing “pin all your dreams on anchors / watch them drown.” Demonstrated in those songs and throughout the album, Muscle & Bone does a great job of building on their sound and using both loud and quiet moments for emphasis.
This is probably best seen in the title track of Peace & Light, the midway point through the album. Although beginning as a softer ballad with violins, the song packs a punch as Travis broods “They say you’re beautiful / Do they mean insecure? / They say you’re everything / Do they mean you’re not worth it?” The song ends with heavier guitars and drums, complimented by the violin that plays throughout. While it is certainly not the loudest song on the album, it has a definite impact and is the most memorable track of the entire album. With that being said, the album’s closer “Wash Over Me” is a very satisfying and sincere end to the album. “Sever the tie between heart and your mind / get on with it” repeats throughout, making it seem that this is Muscle & Bone’s attempt to leave the aching and get on with their lives. However, this isn’t some crazy or elaborate ending, leaving the big moments towards the album’s center while still avoiding having the back half of the album as filler.
Muscle & Bone’s Peace & Light is another excellent example of the cool sound that comes from combining both new and old emo influences. By also playing around with the upbeat catchiness of pop-punk, this album will is sure to appease fans across many subgenres. The debut LP is a great start for Muscle & Bone.