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Thursday, October 11, 2012

East West -- Hope In Anguish

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6/10

East West fans, conditioned to expect awesomeness from the band's Floodgate Records debut, were rightfully let down by its follow-up, Hope in Anguish. After a member change, the band was forced to record with only two weeks of songwriting preparation. It shows. Nothing on this album comes close to the quality of The Light In Guinevere's Garden's "She Cries." On top of that, the diversity and production values found in Guinevere's Garden are largely and strangely missing. Though East West are still on the same label as before, there are times that Hope in Anguish sounds like a recording a local band would sell you out of their trunk. I have no idea why this is the case, and if I ever meet frontman, Mike Tubbs, I am going to ask him. I'm serious.
The songwriting on Hope In Anguish isn't bad. It just sticks to one track instead of branching out like Guinevere's Garden did. That track is radio hard rock. This more monotonous style, blended with the bad production, makes Hope in Anguish a slog at times. Coupled with that, Tubbs lyrics sound weary, paranoid, and downtrodden. I lost count of how many tracks reference being trapped in a corner ("where screams die") or up against a wall with people looking in.
There's a reason I gave this a six instead of a five or a four, though. Amidst all these complaints, lies a talented act. That's the weirdest element of Hope In Anguish: despite the fact that it is not that fun to listen to, you can tell that East West are a very good band, even if you haven't heard their previous album. In fact, Hope In Anguish sounds like the album that should have come BEFORE The Light In Guinevere's Garden. My assumption is that by 2003, East West were just exhausted, and their breakup soon after Hope In Anguish's release gives my theory some credence. And if I ever meet Mike Tubbs, I'll ask him that, too...


2003 Floodgate Records
1. Vacant 3:28
2. Dwell 4:13
3. Drink Me 3:05
4. Seven 3:58
5. For Every Wish 3:25
6. Brutally Wrong 2:40
7. Murderer 2:45
8. Envy 3:41
9. The Final Say 4:33
10. Zero Hour 3:58
11. The Great Fa├žade 4:54
12. Carpe Noctum 13:09

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