Review by Dillon Crader
Hemingway, a new and upcoming emo/shoegaze band from Portland, Oregon, has released their debut album, Pretend To Care, on 6131 Records. I had never really heard anything about Hemingway before listening to this album, and that honestly didn’t really excite me to do this review, thinking they might just be some crappy garage band. I guess this is where I can use the cliché saying “never judge a book by its cover” because this album is phenomenal, and has honestly become one of my favorite releases this year.
Pretend To Care starts off with “Constellations”. This song is a perfect way to introduce the album; very grainy guitars, a fuzzy bass, and both calm and loud vocals. These are the general essentials for the genre, but the way that Hemingway combines these sounds together makes for an amazing listen. Continuing through the album, I can’t help but notice the heavy emphasis and use of the fuzzy/sludgy sounding bass, and I love it. Tracks like “No Hard Feelings” and “Over the Phone” are prime examples of this. I think the strong emphasis on the bass really drives Hemingway’s sound, giving them the ability to really make something unique.
I quickly found myself listening to “So Predictable,” the third track on Pretend To Care, over and over again. This song offers so much in just three short minutes. “So Predictable” starts with a very beautiful and catchy sounding guitar riff, then the off-tune, dark sounding vocals come in and make this track sound even more amazing on top of the beautifully meshed sound. A little over halfway through the song, you can really hear the true emotion through the yelling of the vocalist. (His yelling vocals sound very similar to the vocals on Sainthood Reps last record.) After his emotional yelling, the song leads into a very slow and drawn out breakdown, and then the vocals come slamming back in right at the end. This song has so much emotion in both the guitar and the vocals - it is a very powerful track with an amazing build up to the end.
Pretend To Care has really blown me off my feet. This whole album is solid, and Hemingway absolutely delivers on every single track. This being Hemingway’s first release on 6131 records, I am very excited to see what comes later for the band. Overall, Pretend To Care is a must buy/listen to for anyone who is a fan of emo/shoegaze sounding music (plus this is a great winter album, perfect for the season.) Make sure to go check out Hemingway’s new album, Pretend To Care, and go give them a like on Facebook!
Listen to "So Predictable"