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splendid > reviews > 9/13/2005
Before Braille
Before Braille
Balance and Timing EP
Bad News Bear


Format Reviewed: CD

Soundclip: "Merry Christmas, I'm Cheating"

Buy me now
Jimmy Eat World have set the bar pretty high for emo rockers and their Arizona brethren in general. Before Braille apparently think they're up to the challenge. Unfortunately, although they do a pretty good impression of the angsty young MTV stars, they never reach the same musical or lyrical peaks. Lyrics like "At least you're my second best... Merry Christmas, I'm cheating / but it's only in my mind / you know I'll always love you at convenient times" (from "Merry Christmas, I'm Cheating") are jaded indie rock at its finest, but this twisted sense of humor only works for them once; they soon make a serious misstep by including a superfluous, stripped-down version called "Ex-Mas Eve".

Acoustic guitars and simple brushed drums form the bulk of standout track "Limb From Limb", which demonstrates a maturity missing from the majority of these young upstarts' work. Furthermore, while straight-ahead rocker "Fight Or Flight" hints that Before Braille has the potential to shed the emo tag, they'll have to withhold lyrical missteps like "You have to reset your feelings" (from "Camera Disdain") before they can really escape the genre -- assuming, that is, that they actually want to. Ultimately, Balance and Timing EP is a reasonably good "me too" to Jimmy Eat World's discography, but that's Before Braille's only substantial accomplishment so far. They'll need to mature considerably before they're ready for the spotlight.



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