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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Project 86 -- ...And the Rest Will Follow


It's hard to think of anything more 2005 than (no it's not, but I needed an opening sentence, and I've been battling a virus that I'm not unsure is West Nile for the last week, so this is the first sentence of this review), a website where bands released new tracks to whet listeners appetites for their upcoming full-lengths. Now, in 2017, there are only two websites, youtube and facebook, so everyone just does everything through those. In 2005, though, I excitedly visited every week in the month leading up to September 27, 2005, to hear a new track from Project 86's then upcoming fifth album, ...And the Rest Will Follow. In each of the consecutive four weeks leading up to the album, as each of the four tracks was released (one a week, every week of the month), I was a little more befuddled. What was this sound the band was pursuing? Only a year before, Tooth & Nail had released the band's triumphant Songs to Burn Your Bridges By. Then, Project 86 had subsequently announced that they were re-teaming with GGGarth, producer of their landmark Drawing Black Lines, for a new album. All seemed to be right with the world, except these new songs from this upcoming album didn't feel like Drawing Black Lines at all.
All was not right with the world. When the band had showed up at GGGarth's studio, the famed producer was dealing with a personal matter, and had to pawn the band off on an associate. Also, that feeling of band unity from 2004 turned out to be short lived--this would be Alex Albert's last album as Project 86's drummer. I don't know how much these factors came to play in ...And the Rest Will Follow's creation. I can say that it is one of their least focused, least consistent efforts. The album adds a polish to the band's hard rock sound--in fact, the production screams 2005 just as much as does. The songs do not flow into each other. "Sincerely, Ichabod," the violent opener, which proclaims in its opening lyric, "We once drew some lines in black/right now its about time/we took them back" backs right into the Anberlin-esque pop-rock of "All of Me," which then backs into the strange, yet strangely by-the-numbers hard rock of "Doomsday Stomp," to the...I dunno "soft rock(?)" of "Something We Can't Be." Then there's the dance-metal of "Subject to Change," the lumbering rock of "Necktie Remedy," and on it goes. I hesitate to say any of these songs are bad, but together they just don't work. This is a shame, as there are some great songs here, especially the bizarre "My Will Be a Dead Man," and the swedish-metal ballad "From December," but the title of the album is disappointingly apt...there's always a feeling that something better, something that will tie things together will follow, but it never does. It doesn't help that usually winning lyricist, Andrew Schwab, seems to be facing a little writer's block--these are easily the weakest words he's put to tape. There's a part in "Cavity King" where he rhymes "crimson" with "crimson." It's not like him at all.
I think this album likely matched my confused state of mind in late September of 2005. Hearing it now, it feels like a product of its time even more than the band's Rage Against the Machine-inspired 1998 debut. But Project 86 did, can, and would do so much better than this.
And finally, speaking of 2005, here's Project 86 in their only live TV performance ON THE SHOW I WATCHED EVERY WEEKNIGHT OF THE YEAR IN 2005 IN MY OLD ROOM AT MY PARENT'S HOUSE BECAUSE I GRADUATED COLLEGE IN 2004, COULDN'T FIND A JOB, AND LIVED WITH MY PARENTS FOR THE ENTIRETY OF 2005. WOOHOO!!! I REALLY NEED TO GO TO THE DOCTOR. Also, twelve years ago, I listened to "My Will Be a Dead Man" right before entering a personal confrontation I blogged about here. Surreal to reflect on stuff that happened over a decade ago and see that I blogged about it here. Especially since that confrontation ending up being so epic and life-altering. So as much as I seem meh on this album, I am still giving it a "7/10," and it has still been integral to my life experience. Awesome.

2005 Tooth & Nail Records
1. Sincerely, Ichabod 4:22
2. All of Me 3:59
3. Doomsday Stomp 3:52
4. Something We Can't Be 4:16
5. Subject to Change 4:31
6. Necktie Remedy 5:13
7. My Will Be a Dead Man 4:35
8. From December 4:48
9. The Hand, the Furnace, the Straight Face 3:15
10. ...And the Rest Will Follow 2:17
11. Cavity King 3:30
12. Wordsmith Legacy 4:10

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