Listener Engagement Not Required
Chicago-based Kill Hannahâ€šÃ„Ã´s sophomore effort, Until Thereâ€šÃ„Ã´s Nothing Left of Us, the follow-up to the bandâ€šÃ„Ã´s 2003 Atlantic debut, For Never & Ever, is actually the bandâ€šÃ„Ã´s fourth full-length release since it formed in 1995, and it shows. The music is well-played and well-polished, the lyrics carefully crafted to elicit the deeper emotions of the bandâ€šÃ„Ã´s target audience (presumably angst-ridden youth). The bandâ€šÃ„Ã´s American take on British modern rock has reportedly been hailed by no less a Chicago personage than Billy Corgan as â€šÃ„Ãºthe future of Chicago rock.â€šÃ„Ã¹ So whatâ€šÃ„Ã´s the problem?Until Thereâ€šÃ„Ã´s Nothing Left of Us is dead on arrival. It suffers from a listless feeling that sets in about the fourth track, the pretentiously pained â€šÃ„ÃºBlack Poison Blood,â€šÃ„Ã¹ and continues throughout much of the album. The music is nearly inert, better as a background soundtrack than an active listening experience, with not much memorable or toe-tapping, not even the up-tempo single, â€šÃ„ÃºLips Like Morphine,â€šÃ„Ã¹ which strains for anthemic stature but merely peters out.
The one song that breaks through the mire is â€šÃ„ÃºCrazy Angel,â€šÃ„Ã¹ with its techno backbeat punching things up. Sadly, it comes so late in the album that it barely matters. Even sadder, itâ€šÃ„Ã´s followed by a pointless cover of â€šÃ„ÃºUnder The Milky Wayâ€šÃ„Ã¹ that adds nothing to the original version by The Church.
Kill Hannahâ€šÃ„Ã´s debut was knocked for lacking the raw energy of the bandâ€šÃ„Ã´s performances; unfortunately, the same can be said here. Still, the band manages to infuse an earnestness into its songs that, if not living up to the screamo aspects of the bandâ€šÃ„Ã´s sound, certainly qualifies them as the lesser-regarded kittencore version of same.
For palpable, raw intensity, Wolfmotherâ€šÃ„Ã´s self-titled debut album is a much better bet. For high-energy, pop in Kinkyâ€šÃ„Ã´s Reina instead. For background music to another blah day, put on Kill Hannahâ€šÃ„Ã´s Until Thereâ€šÃ„Ã´s Nothing Left of Us and veg out. Listener engagement is definitely not required.