There is something to be said for taking the time away from a main project and really letting yourself get fully immersed in something new. The members of Less Art have done just that and have made an album that stands out among all the other work they’ve done and then some. Their debut album Strangled Light is a fully inspired and influenced album. Riley and Ed Breckinridge of Thrice, Jon Howell and Ian Miller of Kowloon Walled City and on vocals Mike Minnick of Curl Up and Die have paid their respects to their influences but, taken that and turned it into something all their own.
Throughout the 9 song album, Less Art lay the foundation for heaviness and maturity. Each song feels like they spent the time to really hone in on a vibe and feeling. With each listen, you tend to pick up on a different emotion that puts you in a different headspace, in a good way. The moment the first song “Optimism As Survival” begins, the shivers begin up your spine. There is also a brutality to the album that is carried over from their main bands. When you listen to songs like “Diana The Huntress,” “Mood 7 Mind Destroyer: Guilt,” Pessimism As Denial,” and “Crushed Out” you can really hear their hardcore roots show through. Then there are songs like “Wandering Ghost,” “Shapeshifter,” What Is In It Man?,” and the closer “Strangled Light” that really show who Less Art really are. Their sheer knack to remain heavy but, at the same time vulnerable is what makes them special.
Something really intriguing about Less Art is, Ed Breckinridge is playing guitar rather than bass (as he does in Thrice) on the album. This move has really allowed him to shine as a player and writer. And with him and guitarist Jon Howell, they play off each other in a way that fits the feel of the song. The rhythm section of Riley Breckinridge and Ian Miller builds on the mold of great post-hardcore duo’s. Vocally, the emotion, pain, thoughts and ideas of Mike Minnick are beyond stellar.
Less Art’s Strangled Light, is an album that is very much needed. There is a sense of hope to these songs that when you grab a hold of, you won’t let go.
Overall Rating: A
Less Art- Strangled Light: