Wretched Cabaret is a solid start to Ottawa quartet Legion of Saints’ new EP “Killing the Silence.” The plodding beat and distorted guitar tones remind me of what’s been filling the FM airwaves for decades. It’s solid but, not too impressive until the 2:40 mark when the tempo quickens, the guitars squeal and Bryce Atkinson’s vocals scream, combining together for an epic crescendo. This first track showcases all that LoS have going for them, while simultaneously exemplifying what is missing.
A democratically mixed collection; each instrument seems level with all others leaving a rather muddy impression on the ears. Heavy compression used only exacerbates the issue. These songs are well written and performed but nothing stands out to take charge. Some clever stereo left-to-right mixing does add a welcome nuance to the sound when utilized. The band’s bio cite Kings of Leon and Green Day among their influences, which you can certainly hear, but what makes those bands exceptional is their ability to take a simple, familiar power-chord rock song and find something in it which transcends above the millions of other bands of similar ilk. Without Kings of Leon having Caleb’s glass shattering howl or Green Day without they’re mastery of syncopated aggression they would be relegated to being really good rock bands, rather than super stars. In these five songs Legion of Saints prove themselves to be a really good, better than many rock bands but, not ready to take chances or shed their comfortable skin and smash the frames modern rock radio have tried to enforce on Alternative Rock.
“Hopelessly Introverted” changes their pace slightly and with positive results. The song follows similar structure as the other tunes, but, there’s room for each instrument to construct its own sonic place in the world. The contemplative verses naturally explode into the memorable chorus featuring the most impassioned and versatile vocals in the collection from Bryce.
Overall, less compression in the mixing, a willingness to push to their comfortable limits and an altered track order swapping the placement of “Hopelessly Introverted” and “Bottle It Up” would help keep this listener engaged for the EP’s duration. Reading producer Warne Livesey’s lengthy discography which includes many big names of 90’s FM that I tried to ignore like Matthew Good, 54-40, and Holly McNarland, I doubt I’m really the target market.
Based on these performances, I bet these guys put on a great show and if you’re a fan of bands mentioned in the previous paragraphs, you should check out Legion of Saints when they come to your town. Don’t worry about running into me, I’ll stay at home on my high horse.