All Get Out, No Bouquet
South Carolina duo All Get Out have been keeping the spirit of old-school emo alive and well since their 2008 self-titled debut; their fourth album, No Bouquet, is a breath of fresh air in an alternative scene currently polluted by derivative pop-punk and metalcore releases. On this record, they hark back to their roots amongst the likes of Brand New and Death Cab For Cutie, whilst channelling a similar sound to their labelmates Manchester Orchestra; intense, refreshing angst is sustained over No Bouquet’s ten tracks, but only certain songs really stand out from the pack.
Album opener Rose is an immensely promising start – Nathan Hussey’s southern-American drawl is completely akin to that of Manchester Orchestra’s Andy Hull, and the track’s build-up, with its ominous guitars and soft, rattling drums, could come straight from Brand New’s The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me. Hussey sings ‘they are crazy, crazy, everyone is crazy’ before the tension built explodes into heart-wrenching vocals and roaring guitars. God Damn is another stand-out, taking influence from the best bits of modern pop-punk such as Boston Manor and Neck Deep. Balancing soft and loud parts of songs this well is an impressive feat; the crashing of the cymbals along with Hussey’s yelled vocals in the choruses contrast beautifully with the steady intensity of the verses. The whole track is the perfect melting-pot of angst – every element needed to create a fantastic emo song is present, right up to the tortured cry of ‘no more running, I God damn love you’.
By far the best track on the album is Namesake. Like in God Damn, the dynamics between loud and quiet are brilliantly balanced – soft, sombre guitars layered over a grunge bassline explode into a chorus utterly packed with emotion. The piano that trickles throughout the bridge feels like a leaking tap; it echoes the hopeless desperation of the lyrics ‘every time the door is shut, every household noise is us, and all the different floorboard creaks sound out every vowel of your name’. The track is a hauntingly accurate depiction of what it’s like to miss someone.
Every song on No Bouquet is fantastic as a stand-alone track, but in the context of an album, it’s quite hard to differentiate between a fair few. Self Repair, Archives and First Contact are all lyrically beautiful, but sonically sound very similar – All Get Out’s influences are very clear and they haven’t done a great deal to distinguish themselves from them. They’re all perfectly good, mature-sounding emo songs, but become slightly formulaic. Album closer Trip doesn’t FEEL like a closer; there’s little build-up and little climax, despite some complex Americana-style guitar work.
That’s not to say No Bouquet isn’t an album worth listening to – it really is. Compared to much of the alternative scene it’s incredibly impressive and artful, but in its own facet of long-standing, well-thought-of emo bands who consistently put out masterpieces – such as Manchester Orchestra and Jimmy Eat World – it doesn’t quite reach top of the class. However, No Bouquet is still a striking effort, and All Get Out’s musical prowess is as clear as ever.
No Bouquet is out now via Rude Records.