Friday, November 12, 2010

Just Like Vinyl Review

About a year ago we all witnessed the fall of The Fall of Troy. Their album In The Unlikely Event was a huge disappointment to many long-time fans and months after the album was released the band broke up. At the time I was pretty sad. The Fall of Troy was one of the bands that really helped me broaden my horizons from shitty metal into post-hardcore and their first 3 albums are still some of my favorites. But I didn't really see the band recovering from ITUE, so it was probably the best thing for them to do. A few months ago I discovered that guitarist/vocalist Thomas Erak was already in the process of forming a new band, Just Like Vinyl. I was excited to hear what Thom had in store with his new band, but tweets from him explaining the bands' sound as "explosive guitar wild rock" left me very skeptical. Now that I've heard Just Like Vinyl's debut LP I can say that it is definitely better than The Fall of Troy's last album, but it still leaves much to be desired.

The first thing you will notice on this album is that Thom has pretty much kept the same sound that was introduced on In The Unlikely Event, but it is much more polished this time around. We'll start with Thom's obvious weak point, his vocals. Ever since Manipulator Thom has been really working on trying to be a more competent vocalist, but has usually ended up getting worse in the process. The vocals are pretty good for his standards, but are still hit and miss. The second track Cardiac Harassment opens up with the most laughable singing on the entire album, but tracks like Death of The Sheep and Kite showcase him at the top of his game. The track Epiphany also features prominent vocals from guitarist Jake Carden in which he and Erak trade off and harmonize in a classic pop-punk manner. Most of the vocals are singing, but the occasional screams are always well-placed. The Circulatory System starts as one of the poppiest songs on the album, but then explodes with a heavy riff and screaming midway through and perfectly transition back into a pop song. And the break in Kite where all the members scream after one another is one of the best moment on the entire album.

Now, what Thomas Erak is most well knows for, the guitars. Erak has really learned how to control his guitar playing and manages to not noodle much at all on the album. Instead of his spazzy playing that made him famous we are presented with a more straightforward rock style of playing with a bit of Erak edge. No Friend of Mine is a definite highlight with it's interesting lead riff in the beginning and impressive guitar solos during the bridge. Death of The Sheep also has some of the more impressive guitars with great harmonizing lead lines being played throughout the song and another great guitar solo to top it off. The rhythm section takse a back seat to the guitar and vocals most of the time, but are far from boring. The drummer Jay Beaman's beats are nothing too fancy, but he throws in enough fills to keep it interesting and bassist Henry Batts has some great lines that really shine in the poppier sections of songs like The Circulatory System and Kite. The instrumentation overall is wonderful and I expect nothing less from Erak.

So as you can see I don't have much of a problem with the music on this album. It is executed well and is fun to listen to, but my problem with the album isn't really what's on the album. It's what's not on it. Yeah, Erak corrected his large misstep with In The Unlikely Event, but there isn't really anything new on this album. The lack of experimentation really keeps it from being more than a pretty good album. It's exactly what I would expect from Erak and I mean that in a bad way.

The lack of experimentation isn't excusable, but it is understandable. Erak had been in a band with the same 2 guys since high school, so playing without them can be seen as experimentation in itself. Hopefully once Erak gets more settled in with his new band they can make a truly great album, because I know they are capable of it. This album signifies hope for fans of The Fall of Troy and Thomas Erak. In The Unlikely Event crushed our hopes, but Just Like Vinyl brings a tiny glimmer of it back.

Rating: 7.6/10

One last thing. What's up with this picture? Seriously, Thom looks like fucking Alex from a clockwork orange. This look needs to go.

-Tynan Evans


  1. "Their album In The Unlikely Event was a huge disappointment to long-time fans and eventually lead to the bands break-up."

    What? Where the hell did you get this from? I'm a long-time fan, they're my favorite band, and ITUE wasn't a huge disappointment to me at all; I loved it. And not sure how you came up with that album causing the group to disband. Please don't make your opinions appear as fact if you want to be taken seriously.

  2. overall the album wasn't well-received. i know some people liked it, but it's generally thought that it didn't live up to their older material. and yeah, i do think that ITUE was a factor in them breaking up, but i don't know that. it's just speculation. i will reword it. :)

  3. also, mr. anonymous commenter, i would like to ask you a question. as someone that loved ITUE what do you think of this album? better? worse? have you even listened to it? i'm just curious.

  4. Good review ty...I fucking hate that album cover for real.

  5. "The lack of experimentation really keeps it from being more than a pretty good album. It's exactly what I would expect from Erak and I mean that in a bad way."

    Says it all.

    Oh, and btw

  6. i would actually put this album above doppelganger, mainly because i no longer listen to doppelganger

  7. above doppelganger? that's surprising. the other night i was listening to this and it made me want to listen to doppelganger. it had been so long since i had listened to it. it's still one of my favorite albums.

  8. I enjoy the self titled and manipulator more than doppleganger. However, I find In The Unlikely Event fantastic overall. There are a few down tracks that I'm not a fan of, but the first 8 tracks blew me away. I'm not really digging Just Like Vinyl just yet. I find it rather lackluster. The noodling was some of my favorite stuff and made up for his lack of decent vocals. I'm hoping they take a chance and do something big if they ever get a chance to record another record.

  9. what i didn't like about doppelganger were the lyrics, the screaming, and the jumbled second half of the album

    i'd take s/t over dop, itue over s/t, ghostship over itue...but all these songs are really old. i stopped enjoying them after a year or two

  10. OK, I'm fucking sick of people hating this band because they won't stop comparing it to The Fall Of Troy. This is entirely new people, a new style, all the new whatever. If you don't think it's as good as TFOT, tough shit because it doesn't matter. People do new things in the music world, and it's idiot fans like all of you who are going to drag this band down into the ground because you think they're not as good as some band he used to be in. This album was chock-full of awesome songs, and Circulatory System gave me shivers up my spine. I love where Just Like Vinyl is going with this debut. And if you don't, don't fucking listen to it. Crawl back to your TFOT and cry yourself a god damn river.

  11. anything he does im down to listen to becuase i respect him as person, he a good guy. if u stop being hipster fucktards and actually give soemthing a chance/ see it from someone elses point of view. it can do only good

  12. i'm a long time tfot and thomas fan, and i have to say just like vinyl was disappointing. i don't just compare it to tfot, its disappointing because thomas takes a huge step back with the guitars. he's playing rhythm guitar most the album and just isn't doing alot. i think most people were in love with him cause of how fucking crazy technical his riffs were and how much multi tasking his playing and singing/screaming consisted of. but in jlv it doesn't seem he's doing much at all, and most of the really cool sounds you here is actually the other guitarist. i saw them live and it was boring as fuck. the drummer and bassist were not noticeable at all. the other guitarist is pretty good, and there are some cool parts here and there from both guitars, but its just not intense at all. its cool he's trying to mature with the singing, but nobody follows him for his singing, its all about his guitars. and yea intheunlikelyevent was very hard to like. frank is an incredible guitarist and probably just as good as thomas, if you've heard "of stalwart fads" you'd agree. but seems thomas was being a control freak and didn't give frank alot of room for writing, otherwise the album would've been way better. frank only sang on like 1 or 2 songs, wtf. at this point i'm more interested in what frank is gonna do than thomas.

  13. this is continuation of the very above comment: i don't even know why frank joined tfot, what he was doing with "of stalwart fads" was way better than intheunlikelyevent. but another thing about justlikevinyl, the lyrics suck and sound like lame ass girlfriend relationship bullshit like any radio crap. tfot always had cool lyrics. and just to set the record straight, doppleganger is one of the top 3 best albums of all time.

  14. i get what you're saying about the guitars. they are toned down a lot from tfot, but i still like them. and the fact that the other guitar player is playing lead doesn't matter to me at all. i could care less who is playing what part. and i have heard of stalwart fads and when frank joined tfot i thought it was going to be a great thing, but they got worse after he joined, lol. and i didn't pay much attention to the lyrics, but that's not something i usually pay much attention to. and doppelganger is one of my favorite albums ever. hopefully frank black does something soon. he is really talented.

  15. it's certainly a serviceable album, but it does nothing groundbreaking or innovative at all. If Thomas wanted to do something new and distance himself from his older work, he should have put things on hold after TFoT broke up and given himself a year or two to sit down and figure out where he wanted his music to go. He is an extremely talented musician and this music does not show it at all. This band seems like a rebound(girlfriend) type of thing to be honest. That's why a lot of people are complaining that this seems like a TFoT-lite type of thing, which it most certainly is. I agree with the review in that Thomas needs to sit done and really expand his technical skill into more experimental and progressive song writing.

  16. In the unlikely event is definitely way better than this album. The first time I listened to In The Unlikely Event, I was disappointed by the vocals and lyrics, but in love with the melodies. (Favorite track is Empty the Clip) Absolutely hated the slow songs, couldn't be compared to his older slower songs like caught up and quarter past. Now this album it appears that the vocals and lyrics have deteriorated even more, and even the melodies have suffered? For the love of God Thom can you stop using the same handful words to describe your teenage angsty feelings (If I hear him say friend one more time I'm gonna blow my brains out) and start making "House of Leaves" references again? Remember when he used to sing lyrics like "A startling glance at the future and past, in our games we hide, in our ways we surpass.. But in all of my life, I've found nothing... like this."? I forced myself to listen to the entire album without skipping anything and it was excruciating much of the time. Kite is my favorite track, and it's a remake of an old song! The vocal melodies aren't even interesting anymore it's just him trying to make his voice sound pretty! I'm seriously an upset fan. The Fall of Troy is pretty much my number one inspiration for the music I make today. Never meet your heroes. He sounds like an arrogant douche. And none of this bullshit about Just Like Vinyl being a completely new band, It's all Erak. Clearly it shouldn't be.


    Phantom on the Horizon
    Self Titled


    In the Unlikely Event


    This Shit

  17. Pretty much dead-on review, but I think you give JLV actually a little too much credit. The songs that were decent on the cd still were not nearly as good as TFOT's first 3 cds, and Thomas has continued his new style of singing that he started doing on ITUE. Honestly, I hate how he is trying to sing now. It's awful, and I don't get how he thinks it is better. Then, Tim Ward isn't doing anything productive right now, and obviously neither is Andrew. Tim Ward leaving the band was a big factor in the way TFOT ended up. Maybe some day he and Thomas will get back together.

  18. I actually heard a bit of 30 Years War in the fashion of Just Like Vinyl. As an Erak fan and as a musician i actually understand the want to step out of the comfort zone and play anew and forge on things he wants to get stronger in. He has got guitar on lock, vocals could be better and he knows this, hence why hes trying. As the years progress the music you start playing isnt going to remain consistent, if you played one albums style for years on end, you become bored with yourself. As far as playing goes, too bad it isn't as wild as you used to know, as i read of a previous comment people compare too much to TFOT and i agree. Music consists of a collaboration and i really emphasize on that. JLV is a solid band, had you not known of Erak's previous work prior to a listen of these guys the opinion would be for different. People who play with others on a regular basis can understand what im getting at here, fanboys will forever be followers of a flock of bias. Open your mind and think a little people...