On the surface, California’s Demon In Me holds plenty of promise; comparisons to Manchester Orchestra, Thrice and A Day To Remember admittedly contribute to the expectations of ‘Here’s Your Way Out’. It’s easy to see why that likeliness has been made as the San Jose collective display a sombre, impassioned mix of alt rock. However, they don’t quite meet the compelling requirements of their peers. Early highlight ‘Make It Hurt’ heads straight into mid-00s emo rock territory yet outstays it’s welcome despite subtle grandeur.
There’s an absence of engaging characteristics throughout ‘Here’s Your Way Out’. ‘Sink or Swim’ attempts to be stirring but ends up as a power ballad. The hard-hitting ’Enough’s Enough’ comes and goes without notice, sounding like a throwaway ADTR number, and ‘You Wouldn’t Know’ wallows in its slow-burning, anthemic approach.
The albums strong points come in the form of ‘Bruised Hands’ and it’s entwining guitar play alongside Kylle Reece’s vocals. Whilst ‘Black & White’ carries itself high through its ethereal undertone and prog-like elements.
Penultimate track, ‘What You Are’ attempts to be lyrical heavy hearted and grandiose; atmospheric “ahh”’s and pounding drums add to the emotional relief. Nevertheless, it is rather disengaging but ‘Glass On A Shipwreck’ does it best to end the record on a high. With a much-needed intense tone, the track is stirring with Reece’s vocals proving to be compelling whilst his bandmates pull in an engaging display. However it’s too late, as the momentum ‘Here’s Your Way Out’ offers, unfortunately, ebbs and flows leaving you often disconnected from what’s being offered.
As a collective, Demon In Me, show intent and promise but aren’t consistent enough in fulfilling this. The emotional lyrical nature of the record sways between being meaningful and forgettable. Whereas their instrumentation, at times, lacks an effective punch. In a market constantly producing emerging US alt-rock acts, I hope Demon In Me strengthen their weak points on album number 2.
‘Here’s Your Way Out’ by Demon In Me is available now on Standby Records.
Words by Sêan Reid (@SeanReid86)