Review / Closer – Within One Stem

There are these moments as a music fan when you stumble across an artist and everything they are creating just seems to click. You fall into their world. For this writer that band is post-hardcore/screamo outfit Closer. The trio’s debut record All This Will Be was a perfect blend of emotion and aggression, packaged in such a way as to scratch my many screamo and early post hardcore itches, with plenty reference to bands like Thursday and Thrice. So, at least on my own part, there has been a bit of anticipation for their three piece’s newest material.

Three years later and with a number of twists and turns thrown in for good luck, Closer return with Within One Stem. Musically the record follows on perfectly from their first offering, but one thing that shines through right from the off is that the players clearly have become more comfortable playing with each other. The fullness of the band’s sound belies their three members, and they don’t waste any of the space on their songs, whether it is delicate guitar riffs, the desperate screams on vocalist Ryann Slauson or the driving rhythm of the bass; these three work seamlessly together.

Rather than just being flat out fast and screaming in your face, the band knows when to slow things down and show vulnerability, as well as building things back up into huge crescendos. This ability to switch things up is demonstrated perfectly on the track ‘New Refused’ where the band start off heavy, even slipping into a breakdown of sorts, before slowing things down and Slauson’s vocals almost become spoken word. It is this balance which seems to really highlight all of Closer’s strengths, yet makes them endearing to the listener.

The band are also not afraid to wear their influences on their sleeves, and it is clear to see that Closer is a band that has come off the back of Wave bands such as Touche Amore, La Dispute and Pianos Become The Teeth. And the track “Angry Flood” – a stand out on the record – feels very much like the bands homage to these bands, specifically La Dispute. Closer is a band which really captures the feelings they are trying to portray through their songs, and this is something which is no easy feat, but the results are truly outstanding. 

Within One Stem is out now via Lauren Records and can be ordered here.

Words: Tim Birkbeck

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