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Build Your Own Arc by The Unfortunate Incident

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Reviewed on 24th September 2009.


Build Your Own Arc

By The Unfortunate Incident

It is easy to presume that these hyped Sheffield scenesters are just going to be Fall Out Boy/My Chemical Romance wannabes; trying to fall into that radio-friendly rock-pop-punk genre so popular with fifteen year old girls who have come to realise that Avril Lavigne is balls. However, The Unfortunate Incident (despite the questionable name which conjures up images of teenage boys getting over excited at a pool party,) have a much more pleasant surprise in store than the usual Americana-imitation dirge.

'Exact Recollection' is brilliantly placed as the opening track, with a weighty, power-piano-chord and System of a Down-esque rolling drumbeat introduction. Russ Palmer's vocals are gutsy and heartfelt and he seems to be able to throw everything he has into a song without sounding strained or struggling; where others might sound weak or desperate, hollering out these heavy, everything-but-the-kitchen-sink choruses, Palmer manages to excel.

What makes The Unfortunate Incident stand out from the crowd is their tendency towards quirkiness. 'Build Your Own Arc' is such an aptly named record because this band are determined to escape 'run of the mill' and are instead trying to craft something worthy of rousing intrigue. The familiar building blocks constitute the raw materials, but they have been placed together in an exciting new order. So on this album, expect to hear big epic key-shifting choruses followed by the kind of bopping bassline and folky notes that we're used to hearing from The Coral or The Zutons. For example, Palmer's macabre, deep and dark pouring over 'Every Breath You Take (Is Killing Me)' is unexpectedly, but yet excitingly paired with a trumpet accompaniment.

The Unfortunate Incident are trying to mix oil and water at times on this record, and more often than not they manage to force the two together to produce meaty rock songs with touches of light, delicate sensitivity. A small number of tracks fail to be quite so dynamic and there is a tendency to resort to a formulaic softly-softly verse followed by a thrashy-thrashy chorus, which does leave songs like 'My God, Your God, His God, Her God' and 'One Small Step' being much more filler than killer.

But there is certainly promising raw song-writing talent evident within this band, which manage to cross and merge genres which many new bands are all too easily harboured within - but not these guys, The Unfortunate Incident have certainly built their own arc.



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