(Andy Synn provides another well-deserved exception to our usual rules with the new album from SOM)
What with it being a new year, I suppose now is as good a time as any for a little history lesson.
Long story short, back when Islander (and his two collaborators, whose names have long-since been stricken from the records in some sort of pseudo-Stalinist purge) first started this site the name was intended as something of a two-fingered salute to all those bands who, whether pushed into it by their management or simply because they were desperate to be popular, jumped on the “harsh verse, clean chorus” bandwagon.
Unsurprisingly, a lot of people – including our beloved overlord – were pretty pissed off that so many bands were willing to sacrifice their integrity and identity just to fit in with current trends… and so NoCleanSinging was born.
Of course, the name has always been somewhat tongue-in-cheek, and there’s no actual rules about what sorts of vocals that we’re actually allowed (or forbidden) to include… heck, if you take a minute to look at just some of the bands we’ve covered over the years – Chrome Waves, Katatonia, Klone… Brutus, Borknagar, Boss Keloid… Protest The Hero, A Swarm of the Sun, Junius… – you might even conclude that we actually love clean singing. At least when it’s done well.
And it’s the latter name from that list which leads us into the album I want to talk about today, as while SOM is made up of several ex-Junius members (along with musicians from Caspian and Constants) and shares several sonic similarities with that group, their second album, The Shape of Everything, finds the band stepping out of that particular shadow and fully coming into their own.