The Beautiful Mistake came through Cleveland last week and played at the Grog Shop. I got turned onto The Beautiful Mistake last year and in a short period of time I bought their EP and their full-length album, Light a Match For I Deserve to Burn. I have also seen them play three different times. They are one of the many emo/hardcore bands that are out right now. Their music is beautiful at times, and then grinding and intense at other times. From laid back, pretty vocal lines, to guttural, primal screams, they rock out with a wall of guitars, splattered rhythms and a determined intensity.
The energy onstage is infectious as a Cleveland crowd found out last week. The show started slowly for the first two songs as a lot of people just stood there. The applause was just a fragmented smattering after each song and then the crowd just seemed to get it. I had a chance to talk to lead singer, Josh Hagquist after the show and he said, “After everyone started moving after a couple of songs, I thought maybe they were making fun of us, but then I saw more than a few kids singing along with me.” The audience broke into a frenzy, which lasted the rest of the set.
The band played a lot of songs from its full-length debut and a couple of songs that will be on their new album, out April 6, called This is Who You Are. You can download the title track by going to www.emotionalpunk.com, and you can hear a couple other streaming tracks at www.themilitiagroup.com. I listened to all the tracks before the show and it seems like The Beautiful Mistake are progressing as a band. The intensity and beauty is there, but the formulaic singing and screaming, which has become so big in the last few years is much less prevalent. In the past they achieved the intensity with more of the stop/start structure to their songs. The new material focuses on the melody and building with more subtle highs and lows.
I got a chance to ask Josh about the new album. He was telling me that this time around, the band decided to make a conscious effort to write a “new” record. The band didn’t just want to write another album of songs that were like those on their first record. Without naming names, Josh said that it had been a bit disappointing that when their album came out, they had been pigeonholed as a cookie-cutter emo/screamo band. A lot of people said they were just like (fill-in-the-blank-of-the-emo-band-of-the-moment.)
As he told me, they grew up listening to a lot of different bands. A lot of those different influences go into the making of a record. Their album had been a few years in the making, so when it happened to come out, it didn’t mean that they were hopping on the back of a popular trend. Take it from me though, that’s how things work in this genre. The underground popularity is great and can propel you to great heights (relatively speaking,) but the backlash is a real force to be reckoned with.
He went on to tell me that a lot of the bands in the genre with new albums, in his opinion, wrote the same record as their debut. As a result, Josh, bass player, John Berndston, and guitarist/backup vocalist, Shawn Grover decided to try and write something that came from the heart like the first album, but didn’t necessary fall into the trappings of screamo cliche.
Only time will tell to see how this plays out. The band will certainly have plenty of opportunities to test the new material and see what the people think of it. They are currently touring with Moneen and Senses Fail. This spring they will do a headlining tour of small clubs in support of their new album. This will also serve as a warm-up for their slot on the Vans Warped Tour, which includes Thursday, Coheed and Cambria. If you have a chance to get out and see them, I recommend it.
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