With the number of jazz-inclined emo bands vying to be the next American Football doing the rounds, you would think that some distinctive feature would be seen as a must in order to get somewhere. Instead, much of this current crop seem to be content with falling right in line with one another, resting on their laurels for the same combination of math, jazz and rickety emo that’s been done time and time again.
To give People Like You the benefit of the doubt then, the fact that sophomore album ‘Verse’ has some degree of male / female interplay from Chris Lee and Michi Tassey, but really, there’s precious little else. On the whole, ‘Verse’ ploughs the same furrows to the extent that a good number of these tracks are virtually interchangeable with each other. If it wasn’t for some impressive technicality in the sinuous trumpet lines and loose drumming, or the quite lovely delicacy of the three ‘Keeplay’ interludes, there would be no reason to listen to this.
That pretty much comes from the fact that it’s so difficult to find anything that sticks. There’s at least a bit of energy to ‘Hackensack Hospital’, but by comparison, ‘Variations On An Aria’ and especially the near-six-minute slog of ‘Eulita Terrace’, just drag and meander on with little direction or opportunity to change into something that works. There’s probably some kind of appeal for the true diehards of the genre, but it never extends beyond that.
That’s perhaps the main problem, in that ‘Verse’ isn’t user-friendly in the slightest. Classic emo completionists may get a kick out of this, but this is hardly an easy entry point to the genre. Even then there’s very little here that anyone who’s invested won’t have heard before. It’s not without merit, but there’s little incentive to actually revisit ‘Verse’, particularly when there’s so much else out there that’s a lot better.
‘Verse’ by People Like You is released on 28th July on Topshelf Records .
Words by Luke Nuttall (@nuttall_luke)