Saturday 27 July 2019

Erai - Before We Were Wise And Unhappy

Labels: Lifeisafunnything/Flamingo Noise
Formats: Vinyl/Tape/Digital
Release Date: 01 Aug 2019


1. A Letter
2. On A Wing
3. Sky Never Learned To Drive
4. The Red Door
5. Lights Out (Curtain Close)
6. Before We Were Wise And Unhappy

So pre-orders for the new record from Berlin's nicest emo band Erai are now live. It's been a long wait by the band's own admission but that should only help to stoke the anticipation. I was lucky enough to help them with a bit of promotion for the record in June, by streaming Lights Out (Curtain Close) via my YouTube channel. I now get to review it too, which is exciting. "Before We Were Wise And Unhappy" will be released on vinyl and tape (as well as digitally) with help from Lifeisafunnything and Flamingo Noise.

Constant shifts in the emo/post-hardcore movement in recent years have dragged the sound quite a distance away from where it once was. Away from that of the bands that forged it and nurtured it in the late-90s/early-00s. Erai seemingly wants to take it back to that time and “Before We Were Wise And Unhappy” is a statement to that effect. Not wanting to build it up too much, opening song A Letter is the perfect mix of melodic guitars, cinematic rhythm sections and screaming vocals that fill the room with true emotion. From there, On A Wing sits in a place somewhere between the grunge-like, dreamy emo of bands like Playlounge and Headroom, and the post-hardcore brilliance of bands like Time In Malta and Recover. It’s that mix of calming clean singing and occasional explosions of dissonance and screams.

I know I’ve named a few bands in comparison already but another one springs to mind when listening to Sky Never Learned To Drive and that band is fellow Germans Duct Hearts. Erai very much fills the void that exists while we await new music from DH. Needless to say, this lengthier song twists and turns between different tempos, moods and volumes to create something that washes over you and envelopes you in the same way that a loved-one does, keeping you warm and safe. It’s glorious. Erai’s urgent side is on show during The Red Door and much like album opener A Letter, there’s nostalgia and genuine musical craft flowing through it. There are so many so-called “modern melodic hardcore” bands that try to sound like this but don’t even come close.

Lights Out (Curtain Close) follows in the same grand vein. The layers woven by each instrument and by the multiple vocal melodies that back up the lead vocals transfix and grow with every bar and passage. Six songs isn’t enough in my humble opinion but then again it’s better to keep your audience wanting more and “Before We Were Wise And Unhappy” will certainly do that. The closing title-track starts off as a gentle, melodic piece before Erai launches into something altogether heavier. The vocals sit deep within the mix and the atmosphere is more like that of a black metal song. It’s fascinating in its own right. It may not be what you were expecting from the band at this point but it just goes to show the breadth of influences and song-writing that they call their own. 

There’s an obvious progression from their first self-titled album and Erai is one band whose sound, while not truly easily categorised, is more than just an example of the style of emo/post-hardcore. “Before We Were Wise And Unhappy” is excellent and more people should know about Erai.

You can purchase "Before We Were Wise And Unhappy" digitally and pre-order it on both vinyl and tapes (courtesy of Flamingo Noise Records below:-

Pre-orders for the LP are also available from the labels below:-

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