We're growing a strange crop of screamo this year. I am speaking, of course, of The Killing Moon, and their debut album, the EP A Message Through Your Teeth. Recently signed to well-known and well-to-do label Fearless Records, The Killing Moon definitely brings something new to Fearless' already formidable roster; The Killing Moon, who are already touring extensively, garnering radio airtime, press coverage, and general exposure facetime, are a band to keep your eye on. They just don't seem to be willing to let themselves be categorized; listed under the tags of screamo, emo, and alternative, the band nonetheless... stands out, somehow.
        While I personally don't set much store by image—having, frankly, less regard for a band's members than for their music—I did find it intriguing that the band members are relatively ... is normal the word? The band strays away from the blase black leather pants image of most screamo bands, also avoiding the unwashed dyed-black hair, unkempt preppie feel that My Chemical Romance has introduced to the emo (SoCal) scene.
        This is not, of course, a review on fashion or public relations—I'll stick to what I know, thank you very much. I remark on their image only because it sets them apart, ever so slightly—in a way that very much matches their music. These are normal guys, who just happen to be doing the rockstar thing, and if people like it (and by most accounts, they really do), great. That... that just doesn't happen too often any more, leastwise not in scr/emo. Maybe in Dance or Pop Punk it'd be normal to play these instruments in the rebellious way that The Killing Moon do, but set against the relatively traditional emo lyrics, it's incongruous.
        Not, however, in a bad way. Strangely enough, The Killing Moon's deviation from what you've come to expect from the genre is attractive. As stated, their lyrics are standard fare for emo—angels, vampires, blood, haunting, suicide, the usual Anne Rice obsessions of those who wore all black in high school—catchy, yes, quirky, certainly, but still nothing out of the ordinary for screamo. But the variation in singing and playing styles, within each of the songs, really pulls attention away from the lyrics, which are really the most noticeably mainstream aspect of the band. They're not just screaming about angels. There's appropriate screaming at some moments about angels, satisfying crooning about angels at some other moments, and then very catchy wailing about angels the rest of the time (even though it's not about angles, check out "Subject A" for masterful use of rhythm and knowing when to sing and play in which fashion). These guys just don't fit the mold. If I could find their lyrics and read them, I'd be... well, mildly nostalgic for my underclassman angsty poetry years, but not terribly impressed. But their performances just render that irrelevant. I don't roll my eyes when I hear "You're like a vampire when you bite", because firstly, it's not a screamplosion (that'll come later, and I'll be uncharacteristically rocking out to it), and secondly, they're doing cool things with their guitar (like pacing themselves... and playing skillfully, as opposed to loudly or... yeah, loudly). And the trumpet, or whatever that is? What? A horn in screamo? Yes!
        So, while for the time being
A Message Through Your Teeth is available in its entirety for preview in half a dozen places, I would go ahead and buy your own copy when it becomes available. I quite enjoyed the change of pace that The Killing Moon brings to the genre. Screamo branching out is good.
...
A.F. '06
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       A MESSAGE THROUGH YOUR TEETH
       
Fearless Records

<< 1) Subject A >>
2) Sugar Pills
3) Bottom Feeder
4) A Book of Love Stories
5) Postcard from Los Angeles
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