Amalo = Appleseed Cast + Brand New
Forest Street, the four-song, freshman release by local band Amalo, is a surprising, emo-revivalist collection that is definitely worth a listen. Brand New, Silverstein and Taking Back Sunday are strong influences in the emotionally wrought lyrics and dynamic builds that really define Forest Street. I’m personally really impressed at how well the mastering was rendered in this EP and how well Amalo balance their build-ups to their climactic conclusions, especially in my personal favorite piece, “Something Important.” Starting off with a slow, deliberate drum riff and a pensive guitar, the song gradually grows heavier, leading into its exciting conclusion, reminding me of a Deja Entendu–era Brand New piece. The use of cello in “Used to Go” is also a highlight of the EP, showing off Amalo’s softer, more acoustic sensibilities. Nothing is overdone or louder than it needs to be, and Amalo’s power lies in what is understated through the dynamic changes and tight instrumentals.
Lyrically, Amalo keeps everything relatively simple, but I think that is where they are most effective, letting the atmosphere speak for each song rather than spelling it out for listeners. Though the influences from other bands are clearly strong in Forest Street, nothing is a rip-off, rather a re-imagining of the emo genre. The level of mastering helps as well as Forest Street‘s clean sound makes it easy to really immerse yourself into the nostalgia that you will inevitably feel while listening to the first few notes of opening track “House Fire.” While everything is intentionally slower and drawn out to really give a contrast to the few heavier moments and set the mood of Forest Street, I think there could have been more intensity interspersed throughout the EP. However, I think that Amalo really have their pulse on what made early-oughts emo so contagious and can’t wait to hear what else they can do in the future. –Ali Shimkus