By now, the emo revival is common knowledge. The last couple of years has seen the term undergo a gentrification of sorts, drifting further away from the mid-2000s screamo-leaning definition back the sort of rickety indie rock that accompanied the name at its genesis. Finally emo is no longer a dirty word, establishing scenes that continue to flourish as well as a surplus of underground acts jostling to break through. That’s currently where New Jersey’s Dryjacket sit, still high from the wave of success from their debut EP Lights, Locks, & Faucets and looking to capitalise to an even greater degree with their full-length For Posterity.
And really, how well this album clicks depends on what context it’s viewed in. Where Dryjacket slot into in the current emo paradigm – somewhere between American Football and Moose Blood – For Posterity does a perfectly fine job. But on a wider scale this isn’t really anything new, and there’s hardly anything truly gripping either. Of the two aforementioned bands they probably lean closer to the former, and given how flat their last effort fell it’s hardly a surprise that similar problems crop up for Dryjacket. Then again, where American Football’s math-rock roots were essentially yanked from the ground, Dryjacket maintain that connection for better results; there’s a spry skip to the guitars on Misused Adrenaline and Epi Pen Pals, and the likes of Two Toasters and Milo With An “H” are buoyed by far greater, catchier melodic sensibilities.
But honestly, that’s pretty much it. Dryjacket do what they do well, that much can’t be denied, but there isn’t much, if anything, that really sets them apart from what the current crop are doing. And while that isn’t inherently a bad thing, the similarities are so obvious and on the nose that they’re virtually unavoidable. The crunchier guitars are reminiscent of the current crop led by bands like The Hotelier, particularly on Spelling Eras, while the American Football comparisons are plentiful, from the flourishes of spidery guitar licks to Joe Junod’s sleepy, understated vocals and especially the sliding trumpet lines in Epi Pen Pals and Patron Without Funds. At least when Modern Baseball draw on a similar pool of influences it’s backed up by some ragged punk energy; Dryjacket are emo by definition, refusing to stray from the blueprint that’s been laid out many times before. Even in terms of lyrical content there’s little that immediately jumps out, with Junod describing the album as “documenting a series of unfavourable events that lead to a pretty fough year” – not exactly a bad topic to draw inspiration from, but one that’s become rather played out, especially in emo where similar subjects are frequently the cornerstone of lyrical inspiration.
Ultimately though, there isn’t much of a point in criticising Dryjacket too harshly for any of this. It may not push any boundaries even slightly, but For Posterity succeeds in being a solid if not entirely fantastic emo album, if only for the genre’s diehards. It’s unlikely that this’ll be the go-to emo album of this year, but for these early months until the next high-profile release comes down the pipeline, this definitely suffices, even if the amounts of enjoyment gained from it will undoubtedly vary. One for emo completionists only then, but one that still has a handful of solid moments.
For fans of: American Football, You Blew It!, The Hotelier
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘For Posterity’ by Dryjacket is out now on Hopeless Records.