Seeyouspacecowboy - The Correlation Between Entrance and Exit Wounds (A review)
There’s a sweet spot, a balance that so many hardcore-adjascent bands strive for and end up falling short of. That’s not always a bad thing; on many different extremes you have your ultra-chaotic Dillinger Escape Plans, your ultra-melodic Dance Gavin Dance-s, and the (albeit repetitive) breakdown machines like Of Mice and Men. All fine examples of how to craft a unique sound from a hardcore background. Seeyouspacecowboy still tries to find that middle-ground on this record however, and I think they get closer than most of their contemporaries… Also I fucking love that they call it “sasscore”.
Leading up to the release of The Correlation Between Entrance and Exit Wounds (a title which takes me back to high-school in the best way) the band released two singles, the first of which Armed With Their Teeth is a powerful opener for the album. Within the first few seconds the band makes it very clear that you’re going to get plenty of what my snobby teenage self would have disparagingly called “neener-core”, which happens to be a sound I’ve come to love after spending some time playing live. It’s hard to beat the feeling of an entire band chugging away at open drop-tuned riffs interspersed with dissonant screaming wails in the upper register. The tempo change about a third of the way through this track gives way to a dancy early-00’s melodic groove that builds in energy until releasing once again over multiple breakdowns, which carry the song to a close. It’s obvious why this was the leading single, and while it would be easy to simply apply this formula to the rest of the album the band instead spends the remainder of this 11 track LP cutting up and re-mapping these elements into uniquely distorted mosaics.
With High Hopes and Clipped Wings begins decidedly on the “fuckin’ breakdowns tho” side of the hardcore spectrum, accelerating into a complete tonal shift that wouldn’t be out of place on one of Underoath’s good albums (yeah, I went there). The band brings it back in for some unison attacks to bookend the comfortable and tonic bridge, segueing into the hard-hitting Disdain Coupled with a Wide Smile. All I can really say about this one is that it is a perfect example of a band who knows what they want a song to be. It’s a simple song in terms of construction but it is goddamn effective in it’s execution. I absolutely need to see a live crowd screaming out “BLEED THE TIES”.
Which leads me to another point I want to make about this album: the lyricism is fantastic. It was unclear to me at the time of writing how much of the lyrics are the vocalist Connie Sgarbossa’s writing or if it’s more of a collective effort, but regardless of the source I just had to shout that out. Someone knows how to speak to this millennial existentialist’s deep-seeded dread. The album is absolutely slathered in gut wrenching quotables. (I’m not going to actually list them though. You have to listen to the album.)
After the brief and beautiful A Space Marked Escape, (as well as some deliciously fuzzed-out bass) we get another taste of quality chugs in Prolonging the Inevitable Forever. If this track’s over the bar groove doesn’t induce in you a state of hypnotic head-banging bliss then… well you’re just dead inside. We get another tempo shift toward the end of this track, a technique which this band has perfected as an outro method. This is a perfect example of the band taking the sensibilities of their screamo background and molding something a bit more mature and timeless out of it.
This is more evident than ever on the straight-up cathartic eulogy that is Late December. Between grindcore-ready riffs (and chord progressions befitting an early Killswitch Engage), guitarists Jesse Price and Ethan Sgarbossa bring this album to a peak. Anyone who has personally contemplated self-harm or has witnessed a friend going through the turmoil of that thought spiral will be able to appreciate the honesty and passion in the lines Connie belts over the majority of the track as well. This moment on the album is one of very few times I’ve truly come away from remembering that chapter of my life and feeling better, rather than being brought down emotionally. Something about this performance feels more like a confession of deeply sustained love for this person than of self-deprecation, and I appreciated that.
How do you follow a song like that? The answer is you don't, and I love when artists acknowledge that by letting an album breathe. We get time for this with the noise track Have You Lost the Plot before a combination snare/tom attack from drummer (I think Bryan Prosser? It’s kind of unclear, sorry! If I’m wrong please let me know) reminds us that the band is still present. And the track Put on a Show, Don’t Let Them See You Fall seems to be about that very thing. While I’m in the admittedly privileged LGBTQ territory of bisexual cis-male, I can’t help but feel a strong attachment to this track in particular. We can always use more queer anthems reminding us not to be “afraid to exist”.
The befittingly instrumental track No Words, No Compensating Lies is a phenomenal example of the power of a song title and of track placement. You can very clearly tell that every beat on this album was thoroughly planned to tell an overarching story with it’s textures and themes. I don’t mean this is a concept album by any means, more of a tone-poem (I know, I’m so fucking academic) but a story nonetheless. Also, I can’t help but think this particular track sounds like a Pelican b-side and I mean that as a heartfelt compliment.
Dissertation of an Idle Voice starts with a bit of what I can only describe as Kyuss-like energy as the band swings back into gear for the final arc of the album, letting the song build into a soaring west coast emo outro as Sgarbossa and Price scream their lungs out in an absolute plea for humanism. This is something I think Seeyouspacecowboy succeeds in more than most ex-screamo bands, the communication of positivity and hope from a place of genuine angst.
No track embodies that more than the LP’s final chapter, The Phoenix Must Reset (which I immediately had to learn how to play upon hearing the first time). Beginning with an aggressive breakdown and a quick foray into a syncopated metalcore groove, the track splits at it’s halfway point to let loose some of the most lush textures yet on the album. The band lets us glide on this momentary peace until shaking us awake one last time for a thesis-like closing statement: “The fire will not burn you down / You can claim it.”
I didn’t realize that I had so much to say about that album, but this is what happens when you have a full laptop battery, nice headphones, and a copious amount of whiskey! I’m giving this one a firm “this is exactly the kind of band I would love to tour in, and I need to start a hardcore project like yesterday” out of 10. Can’t speak positively enough about the musicianship and production either, just an all-around great hardcore punk album. Anyway, I hope you all enjoyed the read! What did you think of the album? You can shout at me about it on TWITTER or INSTAGRAM, or if you want to leave me a strongly worded message about how wrong I am or how bisexuality doesn’t exist and I’m just a confused millennial, fuck off! Or use the CONTACT page, that also works. Thanks for reading, and have a fantastic whatever day it is!
Written by, Joseph R. Strom (editor)
Here’s SeeYouSpaceCowboy - The Correlation Between Entrance and Exit Wounds on SPOTIFY