Hollywood Ave. – Poseidon’s Piano
New Jersey band Hollywood Ave. presents a rarity in the emo world: A band that can write music with a real sense of melody and balance, as well as lyrics that don’t seem to give in to all those 14-year-old girls who put on way too much makeup and take photos of themselves in the mirror for their Myspace pages.
The only real comparison I can make to Hollywood Ave. is a softer, more melodic and less emo version of Boys Night Out.
The 13-song CD Poseidon’s Piano is essentially two separate pieces: the eight songs that make up “Poseidon’s Piano” and the five songs that make up “Adventures: Volume I,” which is comprised of remastered tracks from their previous album The World Needs Symmetry.
The “Poseidon’s Piano” section is presented as one whole unit, with themes and lyrics that reappear throughout the section, panning out like a musical epic poem. Beginning with the brief track “Telling the Tale: Kingdom Come,” the band sets the album’s mood of desire and denial.
Standing out in the early parts of the album is “Ocean’s End Part 1: Poseidon’s Piano,” as well as “The Candle and The Dagger.” Both feature strong choruses that are infectious, forcing you to sing along because you just want to.
Throughout the “Poseidon’s Piano” section, Hollywood Ave. shows that they can balance their melodies very well with the strong distortions of their guitars and the driving bass and cymbals from the drums. The vocal melodies and harmonies are also well done.
Tracks 5 and 6 aren’t quite as strong as tracks 3 and 4, but with track 7, the band delivers the same style, bringing it back to the earlier level.
The section’s closer, “Ocean’s End Part 2: Timbers are Talking,” shows off the band’s vocal abilities in a five minute acoustic ballad which brings the album’s initial crescendo from the first to second track back down.
The “Adventures: Volume I” section is not quite as strong as the first. These songs are a collection of singles from previous work, so they don’t feel as cohesive as the earlier tracks.
Tracks 9 and 13 are the standouts among the second section. Though tracks 10-12 are just as long as most of the tracks in the “Poseidon’s Piano” section, they feel like they drag, which is probably due to the lack of a central theme amongst the songs. Tracks 9 and 13 are the shortest tracks in the section and retain the balance of melody and aggression that exudes from “Poseidon’s Piano.”
Though the songs from the second section ultimately seem superfluous, the overall CD is very well done and I would recommend it to anyone who likes emo.