Release Date: Oct. 19, 2010
Review By: Scott L
- The Suspect
- This Can’t Leave The Room
- Years Of Denial
- Dream Over
- Wide Awake
- Apathy (Look At Me)
- All The Time In The World
- You Can Always Find Me
- The Verdict
The saying goes that quitters never win. And while that may seem to be a no-brainer, there really is a powerful lesson in it. Because we live in a generation of quitters. We quit on our schools. We quit on our jobs. We quit on our marriages. We quit on our churches. We quit on our own lives. There’s a lot to be said for someone who’s willing to see something through right to the end. This would include the willingness to pursue a dream despite the obstacles and opposition. So many bands these days just come and go. They’re there one minute and gone the next. Satisfied with only a taste of success and only too happy to fold up shop and throw in the towel when things don’t work out just the way they had hoped.
Strangely enough, Careo has been around longer than most may think. You may not immediately recognize the name, but you need to understand that this is a case of the names changing while the faces remain the same. Careo is the melding of members of Down To Earth Approach and Mending Point. I stumbled across Mending Point a number of years ago liked them right away. Another reason for any lack of familiarity is the fact that the last time these guys put any music out was back in 2006. That’s not a smudge on your monitor, you saw it right… 2006. The Xbox360 had just been released. Blu-ray wasn’t even on the market yet. Heck, Mutemath was just debuting on the scene. Suffice it to say that it was a while ago. Now that could mean that the band’s been dragging their collective feet… or it could indicate a high level of tuning and tinkering has been put into this latest release. Whatever the case, which I’m inclined to believe is a little of both, Careo has struck a chord with “Liars”. Now it’s not that I didn’t like mending Point, because I did. It’s not that I hadn’t heard of Down To Earth Approach, because I hadn’t. It’s just that Careo comes at you with a winning combination of talent and catchiness that only comes with hard fought experience.
Probably the best way to categorize this Batavia, New York based band is as a 4-piece fusion of alt-rock and post-pop-rock. These guys would be right at home on a playlist with bands such as Moments In Grace, Greenwood, and Thin Dark Line. At their core, they’re a rock band that can turn things up or tune things down as they see fit. If you liked their 5-song EP, there’s really no reason that you won’t dig this full-length release. Thirteen tracks weighing in at just under an hour of music, you’ll certainly get your money’s worth with this one.
When I was originally approached about this review, one of the references I was given for the band’s sound was Jimmy Eat World. Although any resemblance sound-wise is pretty slim in my opinion, I will admit that some songs may have a faint “Clarity”-era vibe. But that’s still pretty subjective and I’m not so sure I would have caught it on my own.
Lyrically, Careo is pretty standard. There are some spots that could cause you to stop and ponder some deep truths and hard to acknowledge realities, but it remains enjoyable without being overly cerebral. Labeled as a quasi-concept album, themes typically approach things with a more serious look at life. This naturally takes the listener into some of the darker areas of human existence. And by that I don’t mean the latest boy/girl breakup or having your current bff move to another state right before the big school dance. I mean unrealized dreams, broken homes, and shattered relationships. But don’t let that scare you, everything is handled with maturity and compassion. Now, having said that, what I’m left with is probably my biggest criticism of this release. For all the time spent on portraying in bleak detail the hardship and struggle of life, precious little time is spent on offering any kind of hope. The easy answer to that critique is that hope seems scarce in those times. And while I certainly wouldn’t disagree with that, I would say that hope is never non-existent. As Corrie Ten Boom, a one-time prisoner languishing in a Nazi concentration camp, once wrote… there is no pit so deep that my God is not yet deeper still. It’s a grave disservice to portray the darkness of life without also offering God’s ever present help in time of trouble. And to an extent, that’s what the song “You Can Always Find Me” is sorta about, so it’s not that every song is relentless despair, and I’m certainly not stuck on counting Jesuses-per-minute… some songs are upbeat and positive, it’s just that the CD poses hard questions while barely dropping a hint as to the answers.
Consider the song “All The Time In The World” which says, “do you remember / when the road would never shake us / do you suppose we fell asleep at the wheel / without us knowing / without the momentary flicker in our eyes / ten miles to go / so close but so far / you believe that one conversation might have saved / every year that went by without one / it’s true / and it’s sad / but coming clean’s not an option you had / it never hurts / it never hurts so bad / but I can try to love you more / it never lasts / it never lasts so long / ‘cause we had all the time / we had all the time in the world”. Most songs are well-conceived and expertly executed they just stay one dimensional.
The standout track was undoubtedly “Years Of Denial”. From the opening Edge-ish guitar riff you just know that this one’s gonna stick in your head for a good long time. And it does. I also really liked “Wide Awake” which starts off with a nice grungy rock tone before settling into a driving indie rhythm. And with an hour’s worth of music, there’s no doubt you’ll find something to like here.
Overall: Careo has put out a CD that’s well worth your time to check out. And while it probably won’t be regarded as defining the genre, it’s still a welcome addition to it. Well-crafted and exceptionally meaningful at times, “Liars” is a truthful glimpse into the darker realities of the human condition. A needful place to visit, but a terrible place to live; so just make sure you leave yourself a trail of breadcrumbs so that you can find your way back out and into the light.