Pierce the Veil: Selfish Machines

Artist: Pierce the Veil

Title: Selfish Machines
Release date: June 22
Label: Equal Vision

The second half of 2010 starts on off a rather sour note -- or about 45 minutes' worth of sour notes, courtesy of Pierce the Veil.

Here's pretty much all you need to know about this San Diego band, which bills themselves as "post-hardcore" (but trust me, there's little hardcore about PTV's whiny, overwrought loud-pop songs). 1) This line from the album's Muse-inspired opening track: "Everything new distracts the old / A violin with no hands plays symphonies with no words" (Shudder.), and 2) In the liner notes, PTV says it endorses Rockstar Energy Drink. (Sigh.)

This is the worst kind of flavor-of-the-week, emo-through-a-strainer music imaginable. Beyond the intricate arrangements and proficient musicianship, Pierce the Veil is a schizophrenic hodgepodge of just about every trendy rock convention there is. They even bust on the Auto-Tune on the second-to-last. And, yes, I laughed out loud when I heard it.

But when it comes right down to it, it's all about the singer (as it usually is). For a band that supposedly rocks, the singer is painfully Justin Bieber-ish. I referred to the liner notes again to make sure it wasn't an 17-year-old girl singing.

Now, I know this music is aimed squarely at the teen demographic and has absolutely no use for folks of my ilk. And I know every generation has its fair share of schlock artists just trying to catch a wave (hmm, who would it be from my youth? How about EBN-OZN), but I just feel sorry for the Hot Topic-clad, Warped Tour-going kids of today when I hear bands like Pierce the Veil. These kids deserve better. Listen for yourself . . .

Best song: "Fast Times at Clairemont High."
Rotation: Low
Deja vu: The very definition of over-produced.
I'd rather listen to: Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music
Grade: D-

"Nothing Not New" is a yearlong project in which New Times editorial operations manager Jay Bennett, a 41-year-old music fan and musician, will listen only to music released in 2010. Each Monday through Friday, he will listen to one new record (no best ofs, reissues, or concert recordings) and write about it. Why? Because in the words of his editor, Martin Cizmar, he suffers from "aesthetic atrophy," a wasting away of one's ability to embrace new and different music as one ages. Read more about this all-too-common ailment 
here.

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