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Soundtrack to a Headrush

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Album Review

Although they hail from Louisville, KY, Emanuel have little in common with the artsy Squirrel Bait/Slint axis most often associated with that city. Would that they did, unfortunately, because their debut for Vagrant Records is pretty much straight by-the-numbers emo-punk-pop. Singer Matt Breen has a standard-issue screamy rock voice that sounds like a tenth-generation copy of Faith No More's Mike Patton minus the hip-hop influences, and his lyrics will sound oddly familiar to everybody who kept journals during their junior years in high school. Musically, the album rocks hard enough, but with little in the way of surprises other than the way that a few tracks, such as "The New Violence" and "The Willing," veer off into garage-raunch territory à la the Hellacopters and the (International) Noise Conspiracy. (Not coincidentally, those songs and the title track are by far the best on the album.) While there's nothing overtly wrong with Soundtrack to a Headrush, the utter familiarity of this album will either make Emanuel the next big thing in some circles or cause their potential audience to dismiss them as clones. Maybe a little of both.

Customer Reviews

Album Name Says It All

A amazing debut for Emanuel. I haven't heard much stuff that sounds like this. Definatly their own sound. And its on Vagrant Records so its always good.


Formed: 1998 in Louisville, KY

Genre: World

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Gritty emo-rockers Emanuel formed in 1998 amid a heavy indie rock scene in their hometown of Louisville, KY. Initially coming together while in junior high, the group — Matt Breen (vocals/guitar), Bryan Whiteman (bass), Matthew Barber (guitar), and Anthony Brock (drums) — drew influence from bands like the Beatles and Led Zeppelin to Smashing Pumpkins and Nirvana. Working to develop their sound throughout their teens, the group had taken on a decidedly harder and screamo-tinged edge upon...
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