ALBUM REVIEW: Volumes – Happier?
Photo Credit: Lindsey Byrnes
After teasing fans with singles, Weighted, Pixelated and Holywater, Volumes could just be the masters of anticipation. Their latest release Happier? has cut the cord of a four-year long drip-feed since their last album Different Animals, which debuted in 2017. With major changes to the Los Angeles band since then, will Happier? bring a certain nostalgia or a new beginning?
Even from the first two tracks on the album, FBX and Malevolent, Volumes take no time to throw the listener to the wolves. With blaring siren sounds, grooves with crunch and bone-chilling screams from Michael Barr, these tracks are proof there is no easy way out on this intense yet exciting release. The first melodic track we hear on the album is track three, Bend, which we would argue is the catchiest! With the vocals dancing around the beautiful instrumentals and carefully written lyrics, this song is still just as intense as the others, despite Barr’s screams taking a backseat. If you ever see these guys live, this is the wave your phone torches moment for sure.
Up next is Get Enough, a track lending phenomenal instrumentals once more with the vocals of both Barr and Myke Terry, showing both the dynamics and contrast of each vocalist as the track goes in all different directions. Staying true to a similar style is Lets Me Down, yet another song that makes you listen to the heart-wrenching lyrics. With such devastating lyrics comes melodies that take flight and a breakdown that takes your breath away.
However, if you’re here for the heavy stuff, there is more than plenty left in this release. Man On Fire leads the rest of the album into a spiral of melodic guitars, gritty vocals, heart-pounding drums and absolutely no return from the industrial sound. See You Again and Into You (Hurt) do follow a similar formula but hit just as hard. It’s these tracks that start to build up that anticipation for the beginning of the end (of the album).
Void however, takes the listener on one last nostalgia trip, ringing true to a familiar sound, before we wrap it all up with the final track.
Happier? is the final question left on this release. It’s rhetorical and unanswered, yet serves plenty of purpose to the album overall. To round off with a title track isn’t unheard but for this album, it was so worth the wait. Taking elements from every track we explore on Happier?, the soaring melodies, the heart-on-sleeve lyrics, crunchy grooves and heart-pounding drums, this song was our top highlight from the album and is one of the many that has made it into our daily song cycle. It’s raw and inspires plenty of emotion, some of which we simply could not describe. It repeats and echoes that final question over and over, leaving the listener with plenty to think about as well as interpret as their own.
Happier? is a release that we know many may well have needed in times like these. It’s morbid and haunting to contemplate what may be a simple question, but shows the overwhelming power music can have over reflecting on who we are. It shows that all of us can truly be happier.
Standout Tracks: Bend, Lets Me Down, Happier?
For Fans Of: Loathe, Polaris, Bring Me The Horizon, Monuments
Written by: Mya Brown