Saintly Rows - In The Hollows
Saintly Rows is Blake Treviño, doing the vocals / playing guitar, Andy Domski on bass / backup vocals and Tristan Garwood on drums. Highly anticipated, Heaven in The Hollow is the follow up record of the bands amazing, second release “Everything That I Was Afraid of Happening, Happened“, which was published back in spring 2013.
The sound of the band refined since then. It’s a bit more aggressive and a lot more straight forward, allowing the listener less room to breathe, partly bringing back hints of old fashioned Emo played in the genre’s heydays. Those new songs are short and on the point, showing another side of Saintly Rows. Only two tracks exceed the border of three minutes. Even if their style changed a bit, the band from Albuquerque, New Mexico, still plays a superior blend of emo and screamo, sometimes mixed up with decent post-rock elements.
But, what does the songs on “Heaven In The Hollow” actually sound like?
Just like the ocean recedes right before the storm arises, Mara opens the album with a portentous, yet calm guitar riff, which perfectly accompanies the soft vocals of Tristan. But, slowly this sound overflows into a steady growing storm, whipped by angry screams and the sound of Treviño’s distorted guitar.
“If this is what you need, a life away from me, then I will be an ocean and slowly recede.”
While the second song, Bloom begins quite rough, keeping the dull pace of its forerunner, Jupiter Jazz Pt. II is pretty dynamic, changing the tempo from fast to slow and the other way around.
“You placed your hand in my own, said, “This must be hell because it feels like home.”
Ruin Value combines similar characteristics, keeping the momentum of Jupiter Jazz Pt. II, perfectly building the bridge to the proximate tracks.
The follow-up starts gently and pretty melodic. Just like the opening track, you could think that this might be the calm before the storm. But far from that: This time Saintly Rows keep things quiet. The style of the vocals is clean and pleasant, matching the lullaby-character of the song in a beautiful way. The Vine That Ate the South is definitely some kind of calm anchor for a stormy album, giving the listener some rest.
With Why Am I Still Plagued By You? the record gathers pace again, offering a twinkly guitar riff during the first half of the song, a mighty baseline and again, vocals in two parts.
The following songs, Luminarias and June, are characterized by the incredible moving drumming by Andy Domski, who is keeping the tempo high. Both songs go straight to your ear, inviting you to move your head to the rhythm.
The record culminates in the phenomenal Death and Memory, which starts slowly. The gentle sound is driven by a fair melody and the rhythmic drums. It floats ahead, till the voice of Tristan breaks the silence, filling the air with desperation. On top of this screamo hymn you get two parted vocals, alongside extraordinary good lyrics. You know, this gets me very time!
“When we are gone, not a voice disturbs the water or a breeze on a silent coast. I’ll wear this noose. I’ll bear this vice. I’ll carry this weight for the rest of my life. I want to be buried. I want to be forgotten.”
I'll Be Seeing You rounds off the LP in perfection. Just the opposite of how the album has started, the finale track begins fast and without any compromises, until the sound calms down, like a storm passing on. Thereby, it doesn’t matter, if Saintly Rows show their aggressive site or letting you drift away with their soothing melodies. The pondering lyrics are beautiful and utterly moving, just like on the other tracks, too. This is definitely another reason, why the album is able to convince in its entirety.
“If there’s a heaven in this hollow, don’t mourn the loss of flowers when Spring is soon to follow.”
Recorded live by Lee Sillery at Push Drive Studios, the first full-length of Saintly Rows is excellent in any thinkable way. No need to say, that you should better check the record out if you haven’t already. You’d definitely miss one of the greatest records of the year.