I’ll be honest: I have not been a part of the Montreal hardcore/punk scene in a long time. I used to be though, and I remember a number of Montreal bands that shot up and went out and others that just sucked. I used to breathe this music. I had to see two shows a week to keep me sane. My favourite band is Alexisonfire and has been since I learned every word to Watch Out! and tried to sing like Dallas Green. My favourite album is Lower Definition’s The Greatest of All Lost Arts, a large part of which constitutes my drum warm-up.
In a post-hardcore scene that is infatuated with the likes of La Dispute and Touché Amoré, Montreal’s South Shore hardcore band In Beliefs self-titled album In Beliefs comes to the table with clean tone guitars in the opening track Ethereal. I would be lying if I said I thought this is a great opening track. It lost me about a minute into the 2:58 piece. With it’s lack of variation in the minute between 0:55 and 1:52, I felt there may be nothing left to this track and wanted to move on. Luckily, I stuck it out. What comes after is a chord progression reminiscent of my introduction to the emo-core bands of mid-2000s that I grew up with, then a rallying cry with the potential to be anthemic. Unfortunately, the song does not capitalize on that quality, but it definitely made me want to give the boys of In Beliefs the benefit of the doubt.
The next track Serpent is definitely angrier. The music In Beliefs puts together is rich in dynamics. That said, I think Ethereal and Serpent could have been one track as Serpent picks up the heaviness where Ethereal left off and then releases in its beautiful final moments.
As the album progresses into my favourite track on the EP, Sunburn, I realize that I have been immersed in the work of these young guys since the second track. Their music is by no means complicated, but it is full of energy. In Beliefs’ EP captures the hunger of the young band. The lyrical tone suggests they are an outside eye to the already removed life of suburbia.
Ultimately, the EP was a fun listen that definitely showcases the potential of a young outfit. I mention potential because there are still things that could be polished out, but for a demo EP release, this was great.
I do however take umbrage with one thing that has been a constant stick in the spokes of all the Quebecois bands with French-speaking members writing music in English: Have an English speaking person help with word choice and pronunciation. There are a few moments that took me out of a song while listening to this album. That being said though, the stand-out moment on the EP is in the final moments of Serpent, the vocalist begins screaming in French, successfully conveying the weight of loss.
Fave tracks: Sunburn, Serpent.
Reminds me of: La Dispute, Being As An Ocean, Touché Amoré, Defeater, Decoder, Make Do and Mend, mewithoutYou, Lifestory:Monologue, Pianos Become The Teeth
In Beliefs is playing on January 18th with Balance & Composure and Cloakroom at Sala Rossa (4848 St. Laurent) 7 p.m. $14, and February 25th at Il Motore (179 Jean Talon W) with Caravels and Watch for Wolves. 8:30 p.m. $10/12.