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Any reviewer is going to say ‘melodic’ a lot in this day and age. It’s just a sad fact that the newest trend is to juxtapose soft and harsh in one song. If you can do that, you can slap an emo label on yourself and gain instant credibility, right? Wrong. Now the trend just seems abused. It seems there are three types of bands: the punk band, the melodic emo band, and the metal band. But you can mix and match those if you want.

Clearmotive is a melodic emo band. But before you write them off, there is something a bit different about them. They do have a screamer and a singer, but how they use them changes often. They fuse hard rock, dark rock, hardcore punk, hardcore, and even a little pop into their melodic emo base. Their attempts at hardcore punk and dark rock come off best, as they combine those two in the best track: “The Extent of Our Naivete”. This track has a medium tempo melodic intro with harmonious vocals over it, which segues into a horrific scream of “Fire Away!”. The guitars pick up in a punkish way, and the rest of the song is a mix of screaming, spoken word, frantic singing, and other extemporaneous madness. It’s awesome.

Ok, I know what you’re thinking. You’re scratching your head and saying, “Well…He’s said a lot of junk but I still don’t know what it sounds like.” Have no fear, just lend an ear. Clearmotive draws heavy comparisons to Mewithoutyou, Thursday, and Brand New. The harsh, gritty vocal style of Mewithoutyou is used often, the ornate melodies of Thursday are capitalized upon, and the affection for extreme soft and hard contrast is borrowed liberally from Brand New. Their soft/hard setting comes due to their use of the split-guitar method, which has one guitarist dropping the heavy, burdened riffs while the other plays single note structures on top of it. Another thing stolen from Brand New is their weird titles. They label songs with titles that have nothing to do with the actual lyrics, such as “Boy Meets Girl. Hilarity Ensues.” and “Huzzah! The Ship Is Ours!” It’s funny, yet odd.

Clearmotive is doing a good job. They are asserting their own little niche in a world of nondescript emo wannabes. They have done this by taking the best of what has been already done and infusing life into it. This is a stand-out disc that will make them go places. It’s not the newest thing on the block, but it will make your adrenaline pump.