“Post-hardcore” is a phrase that has become a bit taboo amongst this niche of music enthusiasts. Arguments ensue every day about which bands are or are not fit to don that subgenre, and even more arguments of what that subgenre entails in the first place. It’s like the “Emo” argument from the mid 2000s, and the eternal struggle of drawing the line at what Punk is. I’m not here to draw the line in the sand or define anything, but I can say that after listening to this EP from post-hardcore outfit, Locket, I heard solid range of everything people seem to label as such.
Locket is a five piece band based in Austin, Texas who are gearing up to release their second EP, titled Never There, Never Was.
Upon first listen to Never There, Never Was, I was immediately taken back to a simpler time in my adolescence. A time where I was waiting monthly to see what Alternative Press had to say about the new Thursday record, or if The Used were still worth listening to, and most importantly, making sure I was in all of my best friends’ top eight on MySpace. Sonically, I’m taken back to before hardcore/post-hardcore was infected with cartoon T-shirts.
Right away, I jump to comparisons to bands like Thursday and Glassjaw, but Locket doesn’t stick to that niche exclusively. Don’t worry, they don’t go to the ‘screamed verse>squeaky clean chorus>breakdown’ formula coined by bands like The Devil Wears Prada and Asking Alexandria, but the band does flirt with that with the use of dual clean and unclean vocals. The difference here is that Locket actually displays some musicianship.
The mainstream metalcore/post-hardcore scene is littered with unoriginality. There’s little musicianship, it feels at times. That’s why I found this EP to be a breath of fresh air. All the stuff fans of the bands I mentioned before love are still there, don’t get me wrong. The lyrical concepts are similar, and the sound is familiar, but it doesn’t feel like Locket were content with just putting out a run of the mill post-hardcore record. You can tell they didn’t do it all in one take or use all of their first bare-bones ideas. There are actual transitions and movements in these songs. Also, while familiar sounds, they’re not using the same recycled riffs over and over again.
Locket does not escape all the cliches, nor are they exempt from fault. Like I said, the lyrical concepts are familiar, there’s nothing really revelatory here, and some of the clean vocals feel a little inorganic, most noticeably on the first track, “Stairdweller”. That being said, the lyrics were never cringe-inducing and don’t detract too much from my overall enjoyment.
The one suggestion I would make moving forward as both a fan and a musician, is up the raw factor in the music, use a little less effects. This feels to me like a very intimate project. Similarly intimate and also incredibly hard albums like La Dispute’s Somewhere Along The Bottom of the River… or Touche Amore’s To The Beat of a Dead Horse are so hard hitting and intimate because of the stripped down factor. This is a band that I feel has similar potential. This is strictly for if the band is reading.
Revival has become a buzzword and a debatably overused suffix in recent years, whether it follows emo or easycore, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing. If there’s to be a late 90s/2000s post hardcore revival, I would hope Locket is at the front of it as they sound quite promising and I find myself interested at where the band goes next. (Johnny Athey)
For fans of: Thursday, Glassjaw, A Lot Like Birds