The Memorials    


California's The Memorials have stepped up their game in the songwriting department since last year's self-titled debut.  I was mostly unimpressed by their debut, mainly because of the lack of focus when it came to the songwriting but the new album seems to have brought in a renewed sense of concentration and a wholeness to the material.  Taking one of the highlights from the debut and completely reworking it, The Memorials set the tone early with the opening track Dream.  Centering on the catchy chorus but adding dance beats and warped electronic textures the song has a very surreal feeling to it.  Meaty metal riffs and daring beats strike hard on Fluorescents.  The chorus is acidic and is comprised of chunky thrash riffs and spiteful female vocals.  A demonstrative passage regarding black politics is punctuated by a flourish of trumpet that once again adds a surreal tone to the song.  The next song, Gone, has a stumbling beat and a stream-of-conscious flow to the vocals.  Lots of shoulder swaying and toe tapping here.  Viveca's rich vocals really bounce around her range on this song to sultry effect.  The opening riff on Heavyweight reminds me of a Living Color track that I can't think of.  But Viveca's vocal line is decidedly more contemplative.  Then her commanding voice ups the intensity and slices through your eardrum.  The track drops into some soulful passages.  The heavy, Living Color riff resurfaces to close out the song and drive the point home with an emphatic edge.  My favorite track on the album is Daiseys.  A subtle, traditional metal riff and mildly nostalgic vocal lines create and epic and emotional journey for the listener.  The whole song has a progressive tone to it and it manages to touch me deeper than the rest of the album.  The only drawback I find here on this album is the song length is on the long end of the spectrum.  But no worries, it just helps the positive party feel continue on into the night.  The Memorials have delivered the goods on their sophomore effort.  The album reeks of worldly experience and life-knowledge, but rather than being jaded and downtrodden the album has an uplifting quality to it.