As many of you may know, I recently picked up my entire life and moved it on out to Austin, Texas.  Being originally from Orange County , CA and growing up in the OC hardcore scene, I was able to see bands like Death By Stereo, Eighteen Visions, Throwdown, and many others, before the rest of the country caught on.  Staying familiar with the scene was something that I prided myself on, and very much enjoyed doing.  But now that I am in Austin, I have struggled to find a place in the scene here. It is extremely unfamiliar and I have no idea where to start (any suggestions are much welcomed by the way).  It is with this in mind that I have decided to re-familiarize myself with one of Austin’s greatest exports, Willie Nelson.  Just kidding, I am talking about alternative rock/post-hardcore band, Recover.

Back in the day, circa 2002, I saw Recover play a show at Chain Reaction in one of my more memorable concert experiences. The lineup for the show (from opener to headliner) was as follows:

Open Hand

The Movielife

Solea (A very much underrated side project of the guys from Texas Is the Reason)

Recover

Thursday

Ha! Do they even have shows like this nowadays?  I can’t even believe how stacked (and diverse) that lineup is.  Besides tracks on a few different comps and samplers (and a random dude telling me to check them out because they “sound like Boysetsfire minus the Creed influence” – whatever that means), that was my first introduction to Recover.  I was instantly sold by their stellar live show and immediately bought their only album at the time, Rodeo and Picasso.  For ten years that album has found itself in and out of my CD player/iPod and it has remained a steadfast favorite of mine.

Sidebar: In November of 2002, I moved to North Dakota for 2 years as a missionary for my church.  During this time I almost completely lost touch with music, movies, pop culture, news, and basically anything that wasn’t Jesus.  I say “almost” because while most of my time was spent studying the scriptures and annoying people by knocking on their doors at 10AM, I did break down and get a couple albums (Blink 182’s S/T, Sing the Sorrow, Hot Water Music’s The New What Next, War All the Time, and The Artist in the Ambulance among a few others).  Other than that though, my music was a sad collection of Mormon Tabernacle Choir, acoustic hymns, and some soundtracks from church sponsored movies.  Unless it was one of the previously mentioned albums, it went completely unnoticed by me.  To this day, the music of 2003 and 2004 is largely uncharted territory for me and I have never quite caught up with everything that I missed.

Due to this musical sabbatical, I missed out on boat loads of new music and lost touch with bands that I had previously been in to.  Recover was one of these bands, as they had released the Ceci n’est pas recover EP, as well as their second and last full length This Will Be the Year I Disappear, during that two year period.  It has taken me eight years to finally catch up with Recover, being inspired by my move to Austin.  As I listen to Ceci n’est pas recover, it is clear that I have been missing out on a true post-hardcore gem.

On the whole, this EP is vastly different from its predecessor, Rodeo and Picasso.  Where Rodeo and Picasso is a gritty, largely heavy output, Ceci sports a fuller sound and relies more upon melody and strong song writing (think Thrice’s Identity Crisis versus The Artist In the Ambulance). The difference between the two is jarring at first listen, but is a welcome change the more I familiarize myself with these songs.

The opening song, ‘Bad Timing (All Right),’ is a slower paced heavy hitter that quickly shows the band’s love of melodies laid over distorted guitars. Despite being two and a half minutes long, the song still feels like an “intro” track, probably due to its anthemic chorus that repeats more than is truly necessary.  Regardless, it is a great song to start off with; it builds tension and leads nicely into the alternative rock of ‘Push Push.’

‘Push Push’ is a perfect example of the growth and maturity Recover underwent in the time since Rodeo and Picasso.  It took the basic alternative rock sound of songs like ‘Betting All I Have’ and ‘Two Minutes Hate,’ and pushed it to the next level with catchier melodies, better riffs, and just all around stronger song writing.  ‘Sleeper’ features a similar sound and maturity as ‘Push Push’ while adding in a bit more edge.

The band, however, doesn’t hit its stride until ‘My Only Cure,’ which is more reminiscent of the band’s heavier past, with its fast paced rhythm section and angular guitars.  The intertwined guitars of Dan Keyes and Robert Mann truly steal the show, as their riffs seem to shift back and forth while also creating a cohesive sound that soars throughout the song.

Album closer ‘Inhale Water’ is fittingly the heaviest song on Ceci, as each previous track has been steadily building towards it.  Although the first four songs are stellar post-hardcore outputs, ‘Inhale Water’ is more what I was expecting this EP to sound like, as it is a clear bridge from the sound of Rodeo and Picasso, with its screamed vocals and much more hardcore sound.

It’s a shame the kids never caught on to Recover, because they are a band that could have been great.  I suppose I can only blame myself, as I did nothing to contribute to their success after buying their first album. My two year break from music unfortunately coincided with their last two releases, and thus they fell through the cracks for me. The great thing about iTunes, or even Spotify, is that most music isn’t lost forever after a band breaks up.  If you are looking for some good, heavier alternative rock in the vein of later Thrice or Brand New, check out Ceci n’est pas recover, and make up for missing it the first time around.

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