I’m super jazzed to have the ignominy/honor of getting an early listen to Everything, All at Once by My First Castle (formerly Sinatra). While the only two original members from the Lost in Hyrule lineup are guitarists Zach and Chris, I’m most interested to hear how their new vocalist Eddie Rorls stacks up. And what kind of sound the band has settled into these days. I thought I’d put down my initial responses and reactions to a single listen tonight before I cozy up to this album and get nice and intimate when I do the review proper. So let’s kick this shit off with “I’d Like a Peking Duck on the Rocks.”
Immediate mid-career Dance Gavin Dance vibes. Both in song structure and in the rich guitar tone. Eddie sounds pretty fantastic, has a nice scream and pretty solid cleans. Seems to be able to switch between them and blend them nicely. Suddenly a breakdown. A noodly math rock breakdown. I didn’t know those existed.
Next up is “Repellers Pelican,” which I’ve heard. Guitar tones are just fantastic. I keep getting these little spikes of bass, too. Michael Feldmann is no slouch on his fills. The gangs chorus is a nice touch. I like how the band manages to walk the line between slick and messy.
“Hive Fives Through Walls of Tigers” is a fantastic title for a track. And living up to that title, the song is immediately batshit insane, exploding out the gate at like double tempo. But then we get a chill, groovy breakout from there. Shrieky, chaotic, a little technical. Very different feel here, which is good.
Following that track title we’ve got “The Elusive South Penguin of King Georgia.” Man we are getting to Chiodos territory with these track titles now. Delay-riffic opening, but with such little instrument noise, Eddie’s vocals are out on their own and are a little pitchy. Nothing irredeemable. This song is viciously Dance Gavin Dance and groovy as fuck. Pretty sweet I Kill Giants bridge going on in the second half, though. Vocals are emotive enough to shred your throat by just hearing them.
Oooh. “New Fragments” is all purty and powerballady. Eddie’s gotta lean on his cleans again, but is pretty flawless here. Wondering if the other shoe is going to drop soon and this song is going to explode, or if it’s gonna smolder like this the whole time. Woah Eddie huge voice out of nowhere. Mad props. But does a slow song like this in the middle of a decidedly not-slow album kill the energy? Personally, I think Eddie’s performance was enough.
Onto “Two Graves, One Body,” because suddenly we’re naming our shit like My Chemical Romance. Abrasive as hell opening. Quick Invalids guitar section around :45 is so good. Staccato guitar spikes here really highlight how solid Feldmann is on the bass. Guitar line around 1:40 is delicious. And it’s carrying on through the song. I am in love. I want the D. Aw yeah dual screams/cleans section. Huge tremolo to carry the song home. That song felt good.
“Mantis Toboggan” opens with an instrument that isn’t a guitar and I’m immediately confused. Now there are electric drums and I am afraid. (Actually this sounds awesome and I am 100% okay with it.) This is another time when I’d ask how much this song fits amongst these other tracks, and what kind of impact it has on the overall energy. It’s awesome, but it’s also an idiosyncrasy.
And now, “Matt and Phil the Werewolf” closes the album. The guitar around :40 is fantastically weird and perfectly restrained, and Eddie’s vocals bridge the instrumentation gaps perfectly. Really fucking digging how this song is working. Very different. Suddenly a breakdown with some sweet Tera Melos noise. Fucking fantastic. A total surprise. No, wait, it’s a repeating breakdown composed of progressively slower sections, The Fall of Troy style. It sounds like my headphones are just outputting chunky static and earthquake. All I can hear is cymbals and destruction and pain. Well fuck. That’s how you end a fucking album.
So let me fucking immediately put track 1 back on again while I close this out. I’m impressed with Everything, All at Once. While the band leans on a couple genre conventions (never not allowed), the musicianship is downright daring. I know I kept tapping DGD, but over the past eight tracks, I heard some shit I’ve never encountered before. Good show, dudes. Proud of ya.