BEST OF 2011: Beau Navire – Hours
Not to say that it ever stopped being good, but it seems to me like the past few years have seen a considerable surge in the quality of screamo. A lot of the bands grouped with the “second wave” of screamo either broke up and moved on to other projects, or slowed down considerably, so it’s nice to see that there are still people interested and invested in this type of music, who are willing to do what it takes to keep it alive. This is where Beau Navire comes in, and not only as a great band, but as a talented group of people who have made significant contributions to screamo outside of this band. Trei Campbell was in iwrotehaikusaboutcannibalisminyouryearbook, who are already considered a screamo staple, while Sean Leary is in Loma Prieta who are currently one of the best screamo bands, alongside Beau Navire. It’d be rude not to include Spectres, as well, at this point, since Jon Schmitt played for them, and they’re quite good too.
Anyone reading this is probably wondering what I’m getting at by this point, but bear with me – I thought it more appropriate to write something that delves into the “big picture” of this album, rather than just a review, as this is a year-end list of sorts. The members of Beau Navire have already played a part in putting out two contemporary screamo classics, and while it’s too early to say for an album that just came out, I feel that Hours has the potential to reach this level, as well. While it has the unhinged chaotic feel that made “first wave”-ers like Orchid so great, it stays true to what has separated “second wave” bands from their predecessors, in bringing melody to the forefront. However, the inclusion of melody is such that it also allows Hours to stand on its own, as can be seen with how the “main melody” in the album appears at its beginning, middle, and end. It’s an extremely somber one, and its sequential appearance throughout the album is such that it seems to remind one of an impending “something”, and give the feeling that time is running out. This gives Hours a sort of metaphorical power that I’ve seldom experienced with music – everyone has heard intros, conclusions, and interludes, but I’ve rarely heard them in such a way that they complement the album better than its other aspects, as I believe they do with this one.
There is a great deal to what makes an album a “classic”, and it’s naturally a bold statement for me to claim that Hours already is, but I certainly found it profound enough that it at least has the potential to become one. And lastly, to relate what I said about a sense of improvement in the quality of screamo to this band, I feel that sometimes all that it takes for a scene to get better is a talented group of people who are committed and enthusiastic about it, as can be seen with Trei, Sean, and Jon’s contributions outside of Beau Navire. It doesn’t mean they’ll be responsible for all great screamo music, because this is obviously happening elsewhere as well, as can be seen with Daïtro-related bands like Baton Rouge and 12XU, and could result in more overall enthusiasm for the screamo scene, and thus more potential contributors.