If it sounds like emo, and it looks like emo, well, then it probably is
emo. And Life in Braille doesn't pussyfoot around it, either. Its New York City Ending
is replete with embarrassingly personal and sometimes ham-fisted lyrics delivered in a wavering tenor. To wit: "I love the shape of your breasts / I try to look at your face / but I can't get past your chest." Still, singer Matthew Jones's willingness to really haul off and belt one out (as in "Chess") often hits the rock bullseye, sounding like a cross between Billy Corgan and Boyracer's Stewart Anderson.
Where the lyrics might fail you ("Rebecca Rebecca," "The Cubist" and "Flight 800"), Life in Braille has sufficient musicianship to keep you on board. In fact, musically, the quartet is rock solid, save for occasional daubs of silly synth that distract from the rock (as in the album's opener, "The Jimmy Stewart Overture"). Each song is stuffed with more than its share of hooks, as well as pleasing sets of dynamic changes. "D'Nealian" alone packs enough hot riffs to make three or four decent songs, and tosses in some poppy handclaps over a bass break in the middle to keep your attention. "Chess", meanwhile, recalls the finer points of proto-emo act Mineral, which should please a lot of people.
Ultimately it is Life in Braille's fidelity to the charged dynamics of its genre that keep its music compelling. Even if you are not an emo devotee, you'll catch yourself bobbing your head along with New York City Ending.