With a humongous amount of music releasing at all times, it’s hard for a band to stick with you and achieve that coveted replayability-factor. One such band that has managed that for me is Pulses., a growing post-hardcore effort from Dumfries, Virginia. Self-described as music that’s “mentally post-hardcore smoothed out on the emo tip with a pop feel appeal to it”, the uniqueness sticks out and has caught me off-guard in several songs. Today, I look to delve into their second LP, Speak it into Existence!
This record kicks off with the title track. First-time listeners will immediately see that Pulses. is an experience of elaborate guitar riffs, a trade-off of passionate clean/unclean vocals, and an unpredictable song structure.
Next is “Louisiana Purchase,” the first single off the album and my introduction to the band. The verses feature uncleans that are delivered in the same fashion as rap, over TWO notable guitar riffs. The trap beat in the chorus is a compelling choice, as well. There’s a transitional bit late in the song that lasts 3 seconds, but sticks in the listener’s mind for far longer than that. This is prime experimentation and a track you won’t easily forget.
“Sometimes Y” is, oddly enough, in major key, and features the legendary Max Bemis of Say Anything. There’s a great tempo change moment early on, and Max’s part is fascinating and far from phoned-in. “Exist Warp Brakes” is a funky jam with lots of call-and-response throughout, and horns added to exemplify the groovy tone, and the noteworthy lyrics closing things out: “My decoration is your sensation“.
The pace picks up with “Mt. Midoriyama” featuring Sierra Binondo of With Sails Ahead, who gets two spots to shine in this track. At this point, I have to commend the mixing/mastering job for handling Pulses.’ amalgamation of different sounds, giving them a distinctive appeal to stand out from the crowd. “Olivia Wild” is the heaviest song yet, and got laughs out of me for the intro that didn’t take itself too seriously. This piece’s bridge stuck in my mind, with a dichotomy of uncleans juxtaposing the soft xylophone hits leading up to a vicious climax.
“Good Vibes Only (Zuckerberg Watchin’)” features Gavin Cole, a member of guitarist/vocalist Matt Burridge’s previous band; I wholly appreciate bands that maintain relationships like this and go the extra mile to honor their past relationships. The “WHOOP”s in this song are jovial and a fantastic addition. “Don’t Say Anything, Just RT” packs a punch with the most drastic delivery in the unclean vocals on Speak it into Existence. Record scratches and a sax solo show that Pulses. still has tricks up their sleeve eight tracks in.
“Rebel, the Mightiest Cat” features a bass hook I cannot get enough of. The heavier tracks on Speak it into Existence prove to be just as vibe-worthy as the softer joints. The second single, “Plastiglomerate”, has a steady mix of both, with a truly divine verse. Jon Mess of Dance Gavin Dance would be proud of the last unclean section’s lyrics: “Knuckles are pasty, Go stupid, go crazy
Communicating has gotten so lazy
Tear drops acidic break my sleeping sickness
Homies all witness, I’m tested like litmus“.
The last feature on the album goes to Joey Lancaster of Belle in “Big Mood”. The band noted in a social media post, regarding Belle: “[They were] one of the first touring bands relative to our scene that we played with and a total class act”. The LP closes out with “Graduation Day”, brimming with sentimentality and ease.
Speak it into Existence is a rare album that helms not a second of filler. I legitimately didn’t want it to end, and will be putting this in my ears the second it drops on streaming services. Any fans of post-hardcore, swancore, and the like will NOT want to miss out on this when it hits April 17th!
***A press copy was sent courtesy of Pulses.***