Album: We Do What We Want
Label: Tooth & Nail Records/ Solid State Records
Release Date: March 29, 2011
Reviewer: Eric Pettersson
- The Cheval Glass
- The Anchors
- The Curse of Perfect Days
- You Wanted It
- I’m Not Here for Rage I’m Here for Revenge
- Daddy’s Little Peach
- Addicted to Bad Decisions
- I Never Got to See the West Coast
- Fix Me
After ten years of dual vocalists, Emery releases their first record without Devin Shelton, relying completely on Toby Morrell to lead the band vocally and lyrically. The result can instantly be identified as a simpler sound without all the layers and vocal tradeoffs. But this simplicity is raw. For all that they’ve done before, We Do What We Want is clearly Emery’s most intense, edgy, and blistering material to date.
We Do What We Want is cracking at the seams, breaking forth with power and energy. Right out of the gate with “The Cheval Glass,” it’s obvious that this will be Emery’s heaviest record so far. The screams and riffs are deep and relentless. A catchy, clean-vocal chorus somehow breaks through the chaos, but the song ends just as heavy as it began. While more melody slowly comes into play, the songs remain as heavy as In Shallow Seas We Sail or heavier until the last two songs. Before those, we get harsh screams and full-bodied melodies. As always, the breakdowns are good for the pit and the choruses are good for the sing-a-long. Even though Toby has been married for years, he continues to sing about the pain of failed relationships that Emery has come to be known for, although he does move into new ground with songs like “The Curse of Perfect Days,” which sings of never wanting to let go of his wife and being afraid of losing her even to old age. Some of the jazzy or experimental elements of I’m Only a Man return throughout this record, most notably on the creepy “Daddy’s Little Peach.” As mentioned earlier, the heaviness disappears for the last two songs. The first, “I Never Got to See the West Coast,” is very mellow, but it is heavy in another sense of the word. It sings from the perspective of all the people the band has met that told them they would have committed suicide if it wasn’t for Emery’s music making a difference in their lives. The song approaches the subject in an appropriately serious and delicate way. It is somber and reverent, quietly emotional without being melodramatic, and finally ending on a note of hope. Next is an even softer track, the acoustic-based “Fix Me,” which powerfully cries out to Jesus to be made whole.
Overall: We Do What We Want is full of a raw intensity that makes this record not only Emery’s heaviest but also their least polished. It’s good of course, but on the whole it’s not as stand-out good as some other stuff they’ve written. Even as someone who currently calls Emery my favorite band, I need some more time to let this record grow on me. In the past I’ve loved each new album as soon as I heard it. This time around, there are points I’m not so sure about. But for the points that I am sure about, and there are plenty, this album is well worth picking up.