Winnipeg, Manitoba emo band Louser (sorry spellcheck) are here with their debut album Intermediate State. Louser boasts some seriously catchy guitar and vocal melodies while still maintaining a pretty hard-hitting album. If you’re basking in the current emo revival, these guys might be worth checking out.
Louser’s main schtick is a back and forth between soft and heavy. Nick Gammon’s vocals never stray too far from the clean singing you’ll hear in songs like “Odds On,” but he’s got enough range to change things up as needed. Similarly, the guitar and drum work sprinkles in some heavier chugging amongst the more precise, melodic playing. My favourite song on Intermediate State is “Old Tricks.” The song has a bit of an In Bear Country vibe to it; still melodic but a little more rough around the edges. “Old Tricks” has some of the catchiest guitar lines on the album but still packs a serious punch. “Seventh Stab” is another standout track on the album. Guitarist Nick Fondse and drummer Jesse Hardie break into a less conventional rhythm that really keeps your interest throughout the closing track.
There are a few nitpicky things that I certainly wouldn’t have minded on the album. Some more vocal harmonies and bulkier production would have helped the overall sound of things. The main issue I have with Intermediate State, however, spawns from the band’s repetitive song structure. Louser has a habit of ending songs with slower, somewhat ambient passages. The idea was fresh when it first appeared at the end of ”Old Tricks,” but it gets to be a real drag when it keeps happening throughout the album.
Despite the issues I have with Intermediate State, it’s definitely a solid album. Louser have a real handle on what they do and there are some seriously interesting moments on this album. But, for me, there aren’t enough of these moments. With the number of bands out there right now that share some of the same qualities as Louser, I don’t know that I could pick the band out of a line-up.
Written by Justin Bruce
*edited by Danielle Kenedy