Job : Artificial Language is a brand new band from California with ex-members of Illudia but more prominently Art By Numbers, which released the stellar ‘Reticence: The Musical’ in 2012. Let me make one thing really clear: this is a band that’s not for everyone and has a typical “love it or hate it” sound, akin to The Devil Wears Prada. The vocals are expressive, much like Einar Solberg’s in Leprous, the music is neo-classically driven from both a guitar and a keyboard perspective, and many a time I wondered if I was listening to Between the Buried and Me meets The Human Abstract. It’s a stylistic choice you need to be able to understand, otherwise this band is not going to be for you.
But I love it, dude. Progcore has been on the rise lately, with bands like Polyphia, Animals as Leaders and probably most prominently Periphery on the forefront of a constantly shifting genre. Artificial Language does things almost formulaically well, with songs being dramatically catchy to the point of literally singing along after only two listens. The neoclassical influences primarily in the keyboards are a welcome change from the stereotypical writing many of the aforementioned bands pursue. But it’s vocalist Shay Lewis that really gives the band its twist. His use of vocals is more akin to a musician playing an instrument than to a guy using his voice and it’s refreshing. Not many bands manage to do that well (aforementioned Leprous is a good example, as well as Agent Fresco) and it makes for a voice that takes getting used to, like Rody Walker’s (Protest the Hero), Tommy Rogers’ (Between the Buried and Me) and Spencer Sotelo’s (Periphery).
Songs like ‘Playing the River’, ‘Unself Portrait’, ‘Fortune Teller’ and most definitely lead single ‘These Aren’t Mirages’ are the epitome of catchiness in music and while they’re surely overly sweet at times, they are for a good reason. It’s the weird, quirky passages like the circus-like flow of ‘Turn Off the Pictures’ and the extreme neoclassical verses in ‘The Grand Skeptic’ that I’m not too big on, but other than that this album is nearly spotless. It’s a more serious Panic! At the Disco for fans of Periphery, let’s put it like that and leave it at that.