Described as “driven by post-hardcore ambient writing with testimony based lyrics”, CVLTVRE aim to make waves beyond their Californian home base with this debut EP. It certainly takes the listener on an atmospheric journey through swirling melodies and guitar-based soundscapes, a lot of which will feel like familiar territory to fans of bands such as Thrice and Citizen. It’s that classic and pure early emo sound from before the genre got associated with teenagers and eyeliner.
‘Blame’ is the shortest track, coming in at just under three minutes. It’s also probably the heaviest of the five offerings, leaning more towards their punk influences with some warm guitar licks, syncopated and unusual rhythms on the drums, and delightful screams reminiscent of early Used records. It’s a powerful kickstart to the EP and promises greatness which is almost delivered.
‘Birthday Song’ takes things down a notch, showing off the band’s ability to handle slower rock ballads. It starts off gradually, quiet, and haunting, then transcends into an epic stadium filler. Lead vocalist Joe Yarborough delivers an angst-ridden performance littered with screams.
The remaining three tracks have a similar vibe – melodic, pretty, dramatic – with single ‘Drown’ being a particular stand out due to the intriguing lyrical content. Whilst atmospheric and beautiful at times, there are also moments where these later songs drag or sound similar to one another, and the band need to continue to push the boundaries if they wish to stand out in a tough genre.
CVLTVRE are definitely showing plenty of potential here, and it will be interesting to see what they do next; whether they explore the quieter elements seen on ‘Birthday Song’, ‘Drown’ and ‘Pour These Words’, or ramp things up and go down the heavier route of ‘Blame’. Ideally a healthy mix of both, but either way ‘All Life Is…Act One: An Act of Letting Go’ is a solid first release.
‘All Life Is… Act One: An Act of Letting Go’ EP by CVLTVRE is released on 16th February on Standby Records.
Words by Bec Simpson.