The Number 12 Looks Like You
Worse Than Alone

Quite frankly, I’ve grown away from TN12LLY since their killer debut EP, Put on Your Rosy Red Glasses, as the band through Sad. Nuclear. Sad and 2007s Mongrel have become progressively (literally) more quirky and experimental, dropping almost all of their feral brutality and grinding mathcore/deathcore fury in favor of melody, spazzy experimentation and far wider reaching appeal.

That trend continues with Worse Than Alone as the album, tries desperately be a more ecentric and scattershot, but less artistic and complete version of  Between the Buried and Me as the band further combines off the wall prose and jarring, off kilter delivery mixed with moments of introspective melody and clean croons- but it just doesn’t come together fluidly. First off, despite some nice solo work and more prominent sections jazzy noodling, the band simply lacks the dynamics and hooks of BTBAM. Second, when the band descends into one of their caterwauling, spazzy, math core bursts, it also lacks any thing remotely memorable or convincing. And finally, the vocals of Jesse Korman and Justin Pedrick will be the factor that drive non die hard fans away as the high pitched screams grate, the shouts annoy and the clean croons are just flat.

On the positive side, drummer Jon Karel sounds like he has eight arms, but with so much more of the music tempered and dedicated to jazzy, jangly moments of progressive self indulgence, his skills seem a bit wasted as the band hardly lets loose like a barrel full of Pit bulls, as they once did. Where I could find a handful of enjoyable moment on the last two albums, the pickings are slim on Worse Than Alone as the band can’t decide if they want to delve into haughty experimentation and discordant zaniness (“Marvins Jungle”, “The Gardens All Nighters”, “If They Holler Don’t Let Go”) or forced Dillinger -ish histrionics (“Glory Kingdom”, “Given Life”) and simply mix the two forcefully together and shake until the listener tires.

The end result is a non committal mix of the two. Moments of “The League of Endangered Oddities” and the rangy closer  “I’ll Make my Own Hours” show the band’s musical maturation and undeniable skill, but with this evolution the band simply sounds like a BTBAM wanna be act like What’s he Building In There? Exotic Animal Petting Zoo and Last Chance to Reason rather than the once promising group of brutal kids that made death metal fans angry.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
June 8th, 2009

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