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Emarosa – 131

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Melody Bot, Aug 3, 2016.

  1. Melody Bot

    Your friendly little forum bot. Staff Member

    This article has been imported from for discussion. All of the forum rules still apply.

    “Nothing ever happens until it happens to you” bellows Bradley Walden on “Miracle,” the second single off 131, the newest release from his band Emarosa. It’s an exhilarating moment on one of the album’s most electrifying tracks. It can also be interpreted as the main thesis behind 131 – professionally (Emarosa) and personally (Walden). 131 is the second album to feature Walden as the band’s lead vocalist after original vocalist Jonny Craig was kicked out for a myriad of reasons. It was a fight or flight moment for the band and they struck gold when they tapped Walden to handle vocal duties, and the band’s third LP, Versus, followed soon after. That record was a very respectable release but you can hear that both the band and Walden were still in that adjustment period stage and trying to feel each other out. Versus was the beginning of the band’s shift away from post-hardcore into more of a fluid pop-influence, but without losing any of their aggressiveness. And 131 is the fully realized version of that sound — Walden and company have grown together to create one of the most powerful and honest albums of year.

    A lot of this has to do with not only Walden’s vocals, but the deeply personal lyrics throughout 131. Walden intimately explores the topic of death, loss, and much more throughout the album’s tracks. The aforementioned “Miracle” includes heartbreaking lines like, “And babe, I feel our miracle fade in you” during the track’s crushing chorus, while the soaring “Sure” lends an optimistic passage of “I think we’ll meet again, I’m sure.” 131 is an incredibly raw and cathartic experience for Walden, which not only brought out the best in the Emarosa vocalist but also his bandmates.

    Throughout the band’s history, Emarosa has never shied away from pushing the limits of their post-hardcore sound. However, Versus didn’t feel completely natural, as if they didn’t want to stray too far from their sound. But with producer extraordinaire Casey Bates behind the boards and a more solidified approach with Walden, 131 pushes Emarosa completely past the post-hardcore genre and introduces even more R&B and gospel influence. Opening track “Hurt” begins with Walden’s unmistakable croon before launching into an anthem that could fill stadiums. It sets the tone for the entirety of 131 and is the beginning of a high the band never comes down from. And you can feel that gospel influence reverberate throughout your body during the handclaps and gang vocals on the soulful “Helpless,” as Walden exclaims, “And I guess we’re gonna make it after all.”

    131 may be the most diverse alt-rock record you hear this year, as each of the album’s eleven tracks deliver memorable moment after moment. From the chills-inducing ballad “Porcelain” and the simmering “Never” (featuring beautiful guest vocals from Walden’s wife, Amy Meeko, along with scintillating string work from Yellowcard’s Sean Mackin), to heavy-hitters like “Cloud 9” and the explosive “Young Lonely” (two tracks reminiscent of Anberlin and Acceptance’s very best work, with Jason Vena contributing vocals on the latter). The eccentric nature of album is driven by ER White’s excellent guitar work and Jordan Stewart’s luscious work on the keys, as 131 will have something for everyone.

    So while the band opened up musically throughout 131, Walden reveals all his vulnerabilities and tackles the subjects of depression, loneliness (“Hurt”), and loss (“Miracle”) but he manages to find strength within the pain (“Young Lonely”) while remaining hopeful (“Helpless” and “Sure”) and continually expressing his appreciation and love for his wife (“Never”). He reflects on it all on closer “Re,” a thrilling culmination of 131 to borrows lyrics from the album’s previous ten tracks, resulting in a dazzling display of TREOS-inspired instrumentation as it wraps up the powerful album.

    It’ll be difficult to find another record that bleeds with this much raw and honest power this year. What separates 131 from its peers is the amount of soul oozing from it – Bradley Walden’s vocals have elevated Emarosa to the top of its genre, emerging with one of the very best albums of 2016. If anything, 131 is a reminder that you can experience all hell has to offer and not only come back alive from it but as an even better person than before.

  2. SoundInTheSignals

    @Bake_Wear /

    Really good review. I've been digging that you are back doing more reviews this year.
  3. John Zafran

    As If Everything Was Held In Place

    love this album on vinyl. its so powerful
    Bryan Diem likes this.
  4. disambigujason

    Trusted Supporter

    I've apparently gotta relisten to this more because aside from that run from Cloud 9 to Never I was pretty bored by it. For what it's worth it's one of my favorite album covers in a long time though.
  5. schackbr


    i always kind of hated this band and listened to this album on a recommendation and it really is incredible. totally can get down with this.
    mattylikesfilms likes this.
  6. carlosonthedrums

    Cooler than a polar bear's toenails Prestigious

    Awesome review, Drew. I still can't get over what a great touch it was to borrow the Bobby Brown/Ghostbusters II melody during the bridge of "Helpless." Bradley retweeted it when I mentioned it to the band cause apparently no one else had caught it yet on the day they premiered the track.

    Also, Connor Denis' drum performance on this is next level. It's a shame he can't be in the band full-time because I'd love to see him play with them live, but damn he does some incredible work on these tracks.
  7. The TREOS namedrop makes me want to finally give this album a spin.

    I had a lot of trouble getting into the singles. And the only reason I even checked out the singles is because I'm a Casey Bates fan, not an Emarosa fan.
  8. OpenIntro

    llama llama

    Excellent review and amazing album. They really knocked it out of the park with this one.

    Not only is there a TREOS namedrop in the review, there is a TREOS lyric in Re :)
    Chase Tremaine likes this.
  9. Bartek T.

    D'oh! Prestigious

    Well the TREOS namedrop might not be accidental, seeing as they also borrow the line "this is the last night in my body" somewhere within that song :) I like the album much more than I liked the singles alone, and I pretty mich disliked all the videos, but it's not too important, as a whole piece this LP makes sense!

    I'd definitely recommend to check out the latest episode of Casey Bates's podcast (generally an amazingly formulated podcast), where he discusses the making of this album with Bradley, a lot of fun facts etc., and it got me even more excited to find out they had the drummer of Beartooth, and the bassist of Matchbook Romance to track the songs, as well as stated in the review - Sean from Yellowcard doing a lot of the strings.
  10. Oh don't worry, I'm a dedicated listener to the Casey Bates podcast. Changed my life earlier than year when it introduced me to my new favorite band, DR MANHATTAN!

    I'll probably give 131 a solid chance soon, but from everything I've heard, including clips from Casey's podcast, I really think my ear has a distaste for the types of melodies Bradley writes. Not to sound totally full of myself, but I'm a legitimate fan of R&B music, so anytime a rock band from our scene attempts to go more "R&B" with their sound comes across as cheaply second-rate to me. I could be wrong concerning Emarosa, but the biggest offender in this category (whom I will gladly throw under the bus) is The Cab. :crylaugh:
  11. thank you!
  12. mattylikesfilms Aug 4, 2016
    (Last edited: Aug 4, 2016)


    This album is phenomenal. I been a huge fan of Bradley for years now since Squid the Whale released their first song with him as the singer (The Greatest Way- still an awesome as hell track) back in 2011. The guy has soul and you can hear the passion in his voice.

    After Versus underwhelmed me (underwhelmed Bradley too I guess) minus a few key tracks, a new Emarosa record wasn't even something I was excited for. Then I heard "Cloud 9" and was blown away. After they released "Helpless" as a follow up, I became impatient for 131 to arrive despite writing the band off before. This record is AOTY worthy for sure and powerful as fuck.
  13. mattylikesfilms


    Dr Manhattan!!

    Also yeah, this record is 10000000x better than anything The Cab related. I would definitely check it out. There's nothing really cheap here and Bradley and co. really give it their all musically/lyrically plus Casey did a great job on it!
    Chase Tremaine likes this.
  14. TellYourFriends

    Lexington, KY Prestigious

    Great review, Drew. Really cool to see after Versus wasn't even reviewed on (and many other places).

    It's exciting to see so many people's minds changed about what they thought the album would be. Spread the word. This isn't the same Emarosa.
    mattylikesfilms likes this.
  15. Kristen


    I can't get over how much I love this album. I never even listened to Emarosa before this album but I'm a fan now!
  16. FTank

    Prestigious Prestigious

    I feel a huge disconnect looking at these comments. I thought this album was wholly unremarkable.
  17. mattylikesfilms


    Might take a while to grow on you? It took me 9 years to finally love Say Anything's ... Is a Real Boy hah
  18. SoundwaveUproar

    Regular Prestigious

    I liked 3 songs with Jonny Craig on vocals and didn't care for versus at all. Always new this band had some kind of potential that they weren't hitting the mark with. I'm with you. This album is an easy aoty contender for me so far.
  19. cwhit

    still emperor emo Prestigious

    damn weird, it took most people nine years to finally realize it's not that good
    Chase Tremaine and FTank like this.
  20. mattylikesfilms


    Hah really? I love it. Oh well.
  21. mattylikesfilms


    Anyone know what the title "131" stems from?
  22. Kristen


    I'd love to know this as well. I've been trying to find out.
    mattylikesfilms likes this.
  23. ballroomtrance


    I want to say I read it in an interview with the band or in a review. I honestly can't remember and it was just last week. I'll try and summarize. It's basically like noticing something in your life and then seeing it over and over once your brain has thought about it enough. Like, for example, my ex-girlfriend's white Subaru. Didn't think anything of the car until we broke up and now I see it EVERYWHERE. Does that make any sense?
  24. Kristen


    That's a really interesting concept. I'd love for them to go more in depth about 131 specifically but that might be too personal to share.
    mattylikesfilms likes this.
  25. billyboatman

    Just call me Billium

    Picked this album up at Warped on Monday at my date. They were the first band of the day and the first band I got to see.

    They also put on the best show the whole day. Bradley fucking rips on vocals. I was super surprised.

    Loving this album.
    mattylikesfilms likes this.