I Saved Latin - In Case You Were Wondering [EP]
"Sic transit gloria...Glory fades." So quoth Max Fischer, he who saved Latin at Rushmore Academy. Y'know, like, the film Rushmore? It's pretty great. You should see it. Anyway, that's where these young upstarts take their name from, and here's hoping their glory doesn't fade too quickly.
This six song EP by I Saved Latin is heavily in the debt of the more autumnal era of the American emo band - proper emo, I mean, get your eyeliner out of here. Keep your heart on your sleeve though. Not in debt enough that Mike Kinsella's gonna have to send the American Football boys 'round to break their legs or anything, but there's definitely some noticeable similarities on display.
The drums have that live-in-the-room sound and frequently lead break downs that change time signature with every few beats; the lead guitar weaves a spidery web around the rest of the band to hold it all in place; the rhythm is distorted, but in the background; and the vocals have that earnest, naive quality without ever stepping across into flat-out imitation of that specific sad-Yank accent (good work, frontman Alex Crowley).
The good thing about In Case You Were Wondering is that it succeeds where so many others fail: they absorb their American influences naturally, and the music that results from it feels similarly organic. They're not penning emotional, honest songs because that's the done thing, they're not writing lyrics with US-centric touchstones and references (the very first line of 'Forwards and Back Again' name checks some British landmarks, in fact), and they're singing in their real accents. Take that Lostprophets ("Tell that stupid mick he just made my list of things to do today.") (Sorry.)
The EP, which was recorded in Sweden, has an especially melancholic air to it - even for something so entrenched in (good) emo. When Crowley sings "I haven't felt this way in years" on 'The Scene and the Setting', you get the feeling - from the way he sings it, with a Ben Gibbard-esque crack in his voice buoying it along, and the way the music breaks down after saying it - that he doesn't mean that in a good way. Even when 'Wherever You Go', a sweet and even-handed love song, is a little nostalgic and rose-tinted in its worldview; again, Crowley's vocals just bring a wistful air to anything he sings, in the best possible way.
When it comes down to it, though, they are still drawing very heavily on some less-than-obscure sources; good sources, yes, and I suppose when you steal - let's say borrow, that's nicer - when you borrow, borrow from the best. And whilst the basic sound has doubtless been taken out time and again, there are no borrowed tunes, and the sharp knack the group have for a good melody and a subtle chorus puts them ahead of the game. They saved Latin; what did you ever do?