Depending on who you ask, emo music has been around long before the music industry found a way to co-opt and exploit the genre for profit. In the latest crop of emo bands, some have added their own take while others have returned to the earlier sounds of the nineties slew of bands. While we like both versions, Pittsburgh’s Short Fictions take the genre to new places while celebrating its origins. On their latest full length Fates Worth Than Death, the four piece offers a sound that’s super catchy without becoming sugary pop.
In many ways, the band’s sound is more math pop than emo, but there’s plenty of emo touches here to go either way. The opening track “Fates Worse Than Death, Pt. 1: I Don’t Want to Wait Out the Apocalypse With Anyone but You” has all of the dissonant tones and scream heavy nuance of a modern emo track. The way they build the song up has a bombastic and grand feel, even if it isn’t that way in practice. The way the band changes direction, the haze of feedback and the way they feed off of one another is extraordinary. The math touches kick in on “Fates Worse Than Death, Pt. 2: Anthropocene.” The song has plenty of jangle pop and math rock pieces that make it difficult to steer fro its catchy nature.
However as nice as these two sided are, the band really shines when the meld to two together. “Cities Under Water” has its own sound, placing yelled group vocals with math pacing to craft a sound that’s inventive and fun. In some ways the band sounds like if Apples In Stereo were big fans of June of 44, but what they do here is all their own. The chaos intertwined on “Property of Pigeons” with emo noodling is on another level. The terse moments of the song wouldn’t hold weight if the band couldn’t hold your ears, yet they do so with ease. Our favorite song of the release comes on “Really Like You.” The sparkled notes, the gurgled guitars and the vocals are blend together to make for a perfect background to begin the year. The albums is different and similar at the same time, creating one of the better indie albums you can take into the earlier part of the decade.
Fates Worse Than Death is available to purchase physically on cassette or vinyl directly from Bandcamp. It’s also available to purchase digitally in all online music retailers or to stream wherever you stream music. Short Fictions is on tour beginning tonight in Phoenix, AZ at Cardiff Giant Tattoo until February 08 in Pittsburgh, PA at You’ve Got A Fest in Pennsylvania at Roboto. Their complete tour schedule can be located here.
Image Credits: Photo by Owen Lehman.