A Closet Full of Styles
Simple math: Evanescence plus Paramore divided by Delain equals Picture Me Broken. Led by co-founder, vocalist–keyboardist Layla Brooklyn Allman, this northern California five-piece has released one full-length album, and now including Mannequins, two EPs. They already announced a new full-length album, Corrupt Me, due for release in 2013, so the varied four-song Mannequins serves as an appetizer for fans and an introduction for newcomers.
Mannequins starts with a brief dose of piano and electronic drums before it launches into full-blown Evanescence mode with “Torture.” It’s not hard to Picture Allman Broken when she sings “I love how you hate me / Torture and break me,” with a full Hayley Williams-style urgency. Despite the comparison, she has a distinctive style and the talent to reach further. The title track is all over the map, starting as a hard rock, riff-based gem your favorite bar band would play, but Allman delivers a full-out death metal scream that is as shocking as it is successful, and then does a one-eighty at the end by supplying new lyrics to the piece, “Angel of Music,” from Phantom of the Opera.
“Beautiful Disguise” threatens to stray from a piano-based ballad, but thankfully does not, instead displaying another facet of PMB. The final track, “Nothing Further from the Truth,” ironically compiles the best elements of the band, and hopefully is the “truth.” Picture Me Broken are at their best when they are fast heavy, and melodic, but the band’s experimentation and sense of variety help keep listeners guessing, providing PMB the freedom to be whomever they want.