When Architects started out they were a really exciting prospect defying their pretty boy image and tearing up their local scene in Brighton with vicious live shows. However, they have been very clear throughout the recording of the new album that 'The Here And Now' marks a departure for the 5 piece. Their music is certainly more together; definitely more refined and produced more slickly, encouraging mainstream airplay and making it more "accessible" with mixed results.
The opening tracks are particularly strong featuring some absolutely colossal riffing and several of the breakdowns are almost math-core in their intricacy, evoking Fall of Troy and Dillinger Escape Plan at their best. There are also mellower, more reflective moments like on 'BTN' with interspersed guitar parts and impressively layered vocals. Undoubtedly Sam Carter's screaming has improved and despite his detractors this becomes a real saving grace of the album as a whole.
The apparently earnest lyrics, gang vocals and massive hooks are occasionally spectacular but largely just a little predictable. However, there as still moments of the old brutality especially on 'Day In Day Out' and the latter half of 'Stay Young Forever' which show that they in fact have more to offer musically than their musical peers (Young Guns for example) who they are increasingly starting to sound like.
The final track 'Year In Year Out/Up And Away' features additional vocals from Dillinger Escape Plan's Greg Puciato and has bags of potential. It begins crushingly with the dual vocals, discordant guitar parts and off beat drums but after two minutes of almost unbearable intensity it tails off into five minutes of what can only be described as monotonous mediocrity. It is good to see the young band experimenting but they just don't seem to have it quite figured out yet.
There is more than an element of Alexisonfire about the new offering and if they can retain their rough edge there is potential for Architects to become the next big thing on the young British hardcore scene but they really need to avoid over production, fringes and vacuous lyrics. Unfortunately 'The Here And Now' just doesn't quite live up to its brilliant cover art.