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December 2, 2023

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The Curvature of the Earth (M-Theory Records)

By: Alex Steininger

Slackjaw, a four-piece act out of Portland, Oregon, deliver rocking emo with sharp, loud guitars and tender moments to boot. The band can be subtle and relaxed or they can be all-out and fierce, as THE CURVATURE OF THE EARTH quickly proves.

The title track, which starts off the album, is a slow-building emo number that pits emotionally charged, wounded vocals against solid rhythms and loud, wicked guitars which seem more at home in a hardcore song than they do in an emo number. From there the band visits dreamy pop ("Midnight in the Aviary, All Birds Sleeping But One"), subtle, laid-back emo ("Speaking Terms"), and quirky pop meets energy draining emo ("Wreckingball Subtlety").

"The Next Fall" finds the band at their softest on an eight-minute number that drags on, but is so relaxed and numbing, you don't realize it until the song has passed. Then there is "No Ordinary Magnetism," a song that fuses power-pop and emo with space-rock and plenty of noise to back up the energy and spirit running through it.

The band has a lot of good songwriting coupled with tremendously charged, hyper-energetic music. But, their songs are either too long (such as the eight minute number), or they're too short, lacking the drive that makes the band what they are. Though, there are a few numbers that clock in around three minutes, which is the perfect amount of time for their music. I'll give the album a C+.

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