Onelinedrawing - The Volunteers

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Onelinedrawing - The Volunteers

For as much as the emo tag has become a derogatory term in the minds of all but its most devoted followers, it seems somewhat surprising that bands continue to wear it as proudly as does Onelinedrawing. Involved in the scene long before it became synonymous with overwrought, high-school-journal sentiments and diarrhea of the heart, Jonah Matranga (the man behind the Onelinedrawing moniker) has earned the right to wear his heart on his tear-soaked sleeve. Here, taking a step away from the stripped-down earnestness of his debut, Matranga adds a little more characteristic muscle to the mix and greatly expands his sonic palette. As such, the sincerity-drenched acoustic weeper “As Much to Myself as to You” is matched by the supercharged power chords and huge chorus of “Over It,” lending the album an impressive balance.

Still, the extent to which Matranga stretches the boundaries of the much-maligned genre without completely abandoning the ethic becomes the album’s defining feature, with the Bends-era Radiohead guitar atmospherics of “Stay” and the subtle electronic elements and overt theatricality of “Oh, Boys” contributing to the album’s considerable range while maintaining (and at times seemingly parodying) the aesthetic. Even better is the sighing balladry of “Believer,” a perfect Elton John pop song complete with delicate piano and synth strings. Whether decrying “punk rock pimps and hoes” in the critique of rock-star life on the cautionary “Livin’ Small,” or simply reveling in run-of-the-mill heartbreak, Matranga proves himself emo’s ultimate true-believer.

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