Written by Maria Arroyo
Here/Now is a Philly native rock band that started in 2017. Their retro alternative sound immediately drew me in. This was definitely the best album review to start off 2020 with!
Overall, Dilate does a great job of incorporating different elements of rock and punk, with some hardcore metal, which is done amazingly. There’s also a lot of neat nuances in the ambient sounds they chose and the buildup in their songs.
“The Fox” starts off the album with a great mix of slight screaming and smooth vocals intertwined with some kick-ass lyrics. “You know my name, recall my face, and I’m the judge and jury…exactly how it should be.”
This energy that they hit you with is so exciting to listen to, and they did a great job of maintaining that energy throughout the album. I was also impressed with the great song structure and probably listened to this song alone for about 20 minutes.
“Ransom” was most definitely a great choice for the release because of how cohesive their ideas are executed. This song, along with their album as a whole, makes you want to keep listening because there’s something new to find in every song. “Ransom” was also a great example of their incredible storytelling in both the lyrics and instrumentation. The harmonies that accompanied the lead vocals were so well placed and having them mimic the guitar was a nice touch.
“The Noise” follows right behind with a mix of distorted vocals and doubled harmonies that really complemented the instrumentation. While I’m usually not a huge fan of distortion effects and a dirtier sound, they did such a great job. It was not overly produced but was tastefully recorded, mixed, and mastered for such a great end product. Their strong lyrical writing was brought back with lines like “They won’t set you free when you’re holding onto the grace…Tell me you aren’t just faking… and I’d like to fit into the little box you created to cover up the noise.”
You can picture every phrase so vividly, it’s like being there in that moment of the song’s story.
“Miller” and “Light Feet” both changed up their sound with some hints of funk and psychedelic influences. Something that I think is worth noting is that even though most of the songs on this album have a similar sound, they don’t all sound alike. There were either different guitar riffs, different musical motifs or intentions that really show the distance difference between the songs. “Light Feet”, in particular, had this yin and yang between the vocals and the music. While the instrumentals keep true to their rock aesthetic, while the vocals stay soft and subtle, which was just such a nice change that was definitely unexpected.
“Stay” and “Dilate” kept up with their energy with some strong musical moments in the guitar parts and drum fills. I definitely got some serious Linkin Park and My Chemical Romance vibes taking over.
“Dilate” immediately changes directions to this short piece “Interlude” (fitting name… I like it).
There are more hints of those spacey and ambient effects which were a great way to break up some of the heaviness throughout the album. It took me a little to figure out just how I felt about this song, so this is the best way I can describe it: A mix of whispers and haunting-like calls that mimic callings from a siren to a sailor in the middle of the ocean.
This felt so unexpected yet so damn refreshing and just… wow…
As I get to the last final songs, I didn’t think I could enjoy this album anymore…
And then… BOOM
It was probably the BEST mix of everything I love all beautifully wrapped into an un-fucking-believable ending!
“Shadowboxer” brought me in with this reverb-soaked guitar intro that was followed by these wispy psychedelic vocals like on “Interlude.”
This song, in particular, has these lyrics that just shouldn’t work together, and they do and they do it flawlessly.
“You’re shadowboxing and there’s thieves in your home… You open doors for strangers to roam.”
His vocals and the buildup of tension in this song were probably the most dynamic of the album. It had this feeling of seduction that pulls you further into their world. “Wait” brought me out of that intense feeling that “Shadowboxer” had previously with a more acoustically driven approach which could only be described as a sense of serenity. They were able to keep the essence of their sound but take a different approach to give their album some more diversity as a whole.
The final song of Dilate, and hands down my FAVORITE song is “Save You.” I think I felt every damn emotion in my body when I heard this song. Between the lyrics and the exceptionally great use of repetition throughout the song and the back and forth of the chorus and verses was enough to bring me to tears.
I was blown away. I didn’t think it was possible to fall in love with a band after just one listen, but these guys fucking did it.
These lyrics, in particular, were just so raw and stunning:
“If only you could see what’s in front of you, then you might believe nothings after you… it’s just you versus you/I can’t save you, save you from you/we’re all our own worst enemies, fighting for air to breathe… if what they say is true, the enemy of your enemy is you”
Like who in the hell let you all write lyrics like this to make me feel everything all at once!
Truthfully, I wish I could say that there was something that needed work or could be improved upon, but I am speechless. So well written, recorded, mixed and mastered and just everything I look for in an album.
I had no set expectations with this band and you all just shot that bar sky-high so keep representing the Philly music scene and may 2020 be even better to you!