Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Kramers Rule

March 21, 2004

Sometimes a reviewer starts to wonder why he gets into the reviewing business. You have to review everything that comes through, even if the material is in genres you don’t especially like. Most of the time the music you get in genres you do like isn’t up to par with other bands you like. Sometimes it just feels like you’re doing a service to the world for no apparent reason other than goodwill.

But then, bands like Kramer’s Rule make an album (From the Fall) in a genre that you love (emo) that is as good as every major-label band you’ve been listening to.

Kramer’s Rule plays what I like to call ‘straight emo’, which consists of two guitars, two vocalists, a bassist, and a drummer playing dark music with a anthemic, dramatic bent, and all bearing emotional scars. I’ve said that before, but I just wanted to make sure you all remembered the formula.

Now, forget the formula. Kramer’s Rule takes the formula, breaks it up into little pieces, throws all the pieces in a pile, then reassembles it in weird ways. They play their music with such gusto and energy that as soon as I listened to it, I started playing air guitar to the lead track “From the Fall”. And who wouldn’t to a song which features driving, pulsing riffs under distorted vocals as well as a bridge section that has a massive guitar breakdown and a yelled section that gave me chills. It’s like the dark power of the new Juliana theory meets the artistic ideals of the old Juliana Theory. It blew me away, because I didn’t think anyone could ever harness the creative power that went into “Emotion is Dead” by TJT, but they surpassed it….in one song.

“ThingsFallApartOnTheirOwn” is the next track, which fuses emo bass’n’drums with a new wave keyboard line that builds exponentially until it falls into the chorus, which is catchier than should be legally possible. If you ever hear this song, you WILL be humming the words “And you….you make me SEE!” over and over. They fuse instrumentals into their album as well, such as the short “Repose” and the soaring guitar lines of “Reversing the Circle Part 1”. The center of the album passes well, with occasional excitement, but nothing to yell about. The last real rock song is “Converge”, a slow-burning song that climaxes in a cataclysmic, exploding end worthy of its 5 minute length.  I had my jaw on the floor. The final track is a semi-acoustic closer track that’s a suiting end to this insanely well done album

If you like experimental, artsy, mathy emo, this is for you. Kramer’s Rule plays this album with the skillful mastery that The Juliana Theory used to possess, and they are quite possibly the best example of experimental emo today.  May this powerful album ever unite coke-rimmed glasses and TI-89s in one accord: the “rock-on” fingers.

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Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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