So Many Dynamos’ third album continues to marry old-school video game synths with guitar-based rock. Musically, they do some very interesting things and the songs sound quite distinct. The descending chromatic guitar lines of “The Novelty of Haunting” come straight out of a Castlevania game; perfect for this kind of band. The synth-funk of “New Bones” finds a dance groove that works well, at least before being continually interrupted by aggravating bursts of keyboard bloops and guitar noise. “O, the Devastation” cleverly states the title as a guitar riff long before singer/keyboardist Aaron Stovall actually speaks the words. And “The Formula” zips through several different styles over its six-minute length, and all of them work.
Lyrically, Stovall brings up interesting themes, although sometimes he gets too impressed with his own words. “I think your demons need some exorcise” is a clever line, but it’s repeated so often in “The Novelty of Haunting” that it wears out its welcome. Even the album’s one relationship song, the breakup kissoff “If You Didn’t Want to Know” works because of the slightly skewed perspective of its narrator.
So why does The Loud Wars still leave me a little cold? I think it must be the vocal melodies, of all things. As a singer Stovall is competent, but not particularly exciting. There are memorable riffs and lyrics throughout this album, but nearly all of the vocal melodies fall curiously flat. This cuts down a lot on the catchiness of the songs and makes the whole package slightly less memorable.
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