Young group tries too hard to be Muse, making better inroads as Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Jr.
If you see a photo of the Butterfly Assassins, you can’t help but notice how unbelievably young they look -- somewhere suspended between the skater kids and emo musicians of high school. Yet their maturity in the studio is incredible. They’re a tight group of kids who grew up in the sweltering summers of Chicago listening to Muse and wondering if Bach would ever love them. Their self-titled EP is a largely self-produced affair, but you wouldn’t know it from the sound alone: the thing comes off shining from all the studio polish, but the songs themselves never completely rise above their influences. The Muse melodramatics are easy to spot (especially on the rousing "Prelude No. 1 in D Minor" -- an original number, believe it or not), but Brian Trahan’s lyrics rarely rise above Reliant K-level cliché. On "Little Violin", Trahan intones the line "Your love is a fairytale" the exact same way that Rivers Cuomo sang "Your love is a heartbreaker" from the Weezer classic "Say it Ain’t So". Such imitation may not be intentional, but these mix-n-match influences weigh down the bands prospects for true originality. This is why the cello-crashing climax of "Prelude" sounds like Trans-Siberian Orchestra in their prime, all while bassist Danny Yardon establishes himself as the band’s secret weapon, providing fantastic countermelodies to songs when they’re most needed. The MySpace crowd will have no trouble lapping this group up, but here’s to hoping that this obviously talented group lays off the hero-worship for their full-length.