Take a ‘Breathe’r

Newest album from electronic-punk group marks major transition, break from heavy rock sounds

The newest album from Breathe Carolina, “Savages,” may not be super fresh or exciting, but it is certainly a good EDM record to jam out to. Their style remains generally the same as in past albums — dramatically slow and heavy, building to wonderfully quick rhythms and fantastically traditional dance beats — with the addition of greater hip-hop influences.

The first track, “Bury Me,” sets the pace of the album, but is a bit hard to follow, with the bass hitting in waves. The solid sounds aren’t oppressing, though, and the track is one of the album’s most exciting.

The second track, “Bang It Out,” shows the first mainstream pop influence in Breathe Carolina’s lyrics. Using popular colloquial phrases, lead singer David Schmitt sings he “need[s] a ride or die.” Similarly, “Chasing Hearts” shows Schmitt boasting, “Me and my crew, living so fast and hard.” These lyrics seem almost ironic at first listen, but after a while it’s clear the band is really attempting to modernize its sound and break into a new audience base.

Though “Bang” is exhilarating in its confidence, the latter sounds more like a Drake tune from the radio. Both are cool and collectedly organized, but also wildly unanticipated.

A personal favorite from “Savages” is “Sellouts,” the only screaming on the entire album. I was a little shocked by the lack of this signature element, but after a couple concentrated listenings, I heard this staple among the reinvented Breathe Carolina sound.

The title track, “Savages,” certainly represents the album as a cohesive piece of music. The devil-may-care message is most evocative of the album’s pure, innocent-seeming sounds and carefree spirit. This track also showcases Schmitt’s talent as a vocalist — despite the auto-tune and synth interplay which at times can be slightly overwhelming across the album, here his voice rings beautifully.

While I find it difficult to accept the mainstream diversion the band has decided to follow, veering wildly away from earlier, more meaningful music, the tunes themselves provide easy listening and the album as a whole has a great flow and pace. Until the next record from Breathe Carolina drops, fans like myself will have to be satisfied with “Savages” and supplement our musical needs with the group’s older albums.

Published April 18, 2014 in Arts and Entertainment, tableau

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