August 21, 2018

Ashes Divide - Keep Telling Myself It's Alright (2008)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Alternative Rock
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© 2008 Island Records
AllMusic Review by Katherine Fulton
As could be expected for one of the founding members of A Perfect Circle, Billy Howerdel's debut album, Keep Telling Myself It's Alright, is a suitably ambitious and artistic work that mixes pensive lyrics with equally melancholy melodies. Unfortunately, it is also a decidedly hit or miss affair, alternating between aggression and melancholy in a mix that doesn't always work. The lack of cohesion makes it feel as though Howerdel is reaching for something undefined with this album, but he doesn't quite make it there. Instead, he settles comfortably into a brooding, moody sound that is indebted to his former project by way of grinding guitars and anguished vocals, but does more to showcase his musical skills instead of a sense of emotion or depth. Not that this is an entirely bad thing -- though he does employ the help of guest musicians on a few songs, Howerdel sings and plays nearly all the instruments on Keep Telling Myself It's Alright, and while there aren't any virtuoso performances, his ability to create such an atmospheric work is impressive. This talent is at its strongest on "The Stone," where Howerdel juxtaposes pensive verses with an impassioned chorus and powerful (but not overwhelming) guitar riffs. Given that, it's a mystery as to why the song appears so late in the album preceded by the likes of the bland "Defamed" or overeager "Enemies." By relegating his more powerful pieces to the back of Keep Telling Myself It's Alright in favor of more inconsistent opening tracks, Howerdel makes the entire album feel somewhat shallow and emotionally static. Instead of exploring new territory, he seems content in revisiting old successes.

tags: ashes divide, keep telling itself its alright, 2008, flac,

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