Album Review: We're Doomed - "Like A Machine"

by Josh "pinky" Pothier

Every time I see or hear We’re Doomed I get really excited. For one thing, it’s like audio coffee with it’s energetic playing and major chord-y goodness. Secondly it makes me really happy when I hear a band of young musicians who have serious, honest-to-god talent. These guys have an excellent sense of every aspect of writing music. They have the right blend of technique and art which is a rare find in their particular genre, which is sort of harder edged, progressive pop punk that reminds me of all those bands that used to come from Burlington, Ontario with styled hair and really nice gear.

These guys have a clear vision of their market, their sound and their potential, and this EP sounds fucking incredible. It’s hard to record music like this properly because there is so much going on that it can get real messy once you start mixing. It doesn’t hurt that the songs themselves are written in a way that is very organized considering the chaotic aspects of their playing. The songs feel like they have an overall theme, regardless of how scattered the parts are, it’s very interesting. The last song, Rise Of The Mammoth Lord is probably my favorite because the guys actually take time to develop a part instead of jumping around into riffs like they do through most of the record. The last three minutes develop at the perfect pace making for a really well executed piece of music. These guys should be very proud of this EP.

Now if you’ve seen/heard of We’re Doomed already, then you probably feel similar. They’ve been packing bars in Halifax for the last year or so, and they were chosen to be a part of this year’s Warped Tour, an accomplishment they deserved and an opportunity that is perfect for them at this point. They have real potential, and they are on their way up, but there is one problem. I have one criticism -- the elephant in the room, which if you’ve seen We’re Doomed I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. It’s the subject of hand-hidden whispered messages in the back of bar or end of the night drunken walks home.

The vocals are pretty terrible. Now, recently there was a roster shift, and their original singer (who was pretty bad) was replaced by guitar player Simon Outhit, who I’ll admit is slightly better, but not by much. The fact he can play those parts and sing at the same time is pretty impressive, but the vocals still need some work. It’s not even anything specific, but the overall vocal just sounds out of place, like a scrape against the grain.

Now, normally, I wouldn’t really care. I listen to plenty of bands with less than average singers. I don’t give a fuck and really, in true rock and roll spirit, neither should they. It’s also completely plausible that with Simon taking on vocal duties just as the EP was being recorded he still hasn’t had time to find the right place for his voice or develop it properly, and things will probably smooth themselves out with time. But for a band still in their infancy there is a good reason why I think it’s an issue that should at least be acknowledged.
This band has it all together in basically every department. They have young, motivated people working with them. They are currently on an upswing, and musically, everything is there. Hell, the reason the singers voice is so noticeable is because everything else is perfect, which makes rough or flat notes stand out even more. I’ve had numerous conversations with people about this band, and every time someone always mentions the vocals, it’s inevitable. And regardless if they care about it or not (although they must if they have already taken steps to address it), I think bands should at least be aware of criticisms audiences have of their band, especially in the initial couple of years. Whether they choose to care/acknowledge them is their prerogative.

I guess my argument is this:
Does it make this EP bad? No.
But kind of.

And it’s frustrating to hear so much potential in something with just one, very obvious thing holding it back. If you give people something almost perfect they will always focus on the flaw, it’s just human nature. I think Simon will definitely benefit from a good hefty chunk of live shows. People get exponentially better at singing when they do it every night; it’s the kind of thing that naturally corrects itself. I’m very interested in seeing what the next couple of years will bring for We’re Doomed, they are one of the most exciting bands in this city, and they have more potential than probably anything else going on right now.


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