In 2017, Picturesque put out their debut LP, which gave them a place on the map in the metal alternative scene. So, let’s dive in and see if their sophomore record is going to keep that push going. Their debut record drove on the post-hardcore, aggressive front of things, and even though that is present in this release, it is not the main event that drives the music on this record. Throughout this release, it is apparent that the band is toying with a variety of musical genres that place them in the more relaxed, groove based category. When looking at the instrumentals of this record, it is heard that the band is working with a blanket of sound that is utilized to create a soundscape of sorts, which creates an overall vibe that drives each work. There are heightened moments that accent the more aggressive or emotionally trying lyrical lines, but the overall feel of this album takes a clear shift from the previous Picturesque sound. This new approach to their characteristic sound opens them up to more appeal in terms of the masses on a spectrum, but the mechanisms they are utilizing to create this record aren’t necessarily new and innovative to the world: just to the band. In terms of scale, the band wavers in the middle throughout the record; thus, there is a lack of variety, which may lose some interest from listeners. Overall, I am giving this album a 3.5 out of 5 stars, for the theme of the record is impactful, the music that falls on the inside is solid but it isn’t overly memorable, and I don’t know how well it will stack up with the other records that are being released this year.
“Holding Me Down”, “Swipe”, and “Pray”
When listening to this record for the first time, these tracks stick out amongst the pack, so let’s talk about why that is. For the most part, this album drives with a similar template throughout each work; however, these tracks take a step left or right whether that be with lyrics, instrumental lines, or other musical genre influences. These ornate moments act as the “pop of color” for the record, which will help to keep the attention of the listeners. Though I am a human that recommends giving an album a listen from front to back initially, if you just want a taste: I would start here.
When glancing at the artwork at first, I must say, the image is quite powerful. The center of the image shows a butterfly sitting on the risky half of a mouse trap. The butterfly is depicted with an iridescent rainbow color. This is notable since the rest of the artwork drives with a black monochromatic theme with shadows of light, and a slight dusting of red. Now, let’s look a tad closer to see if this relates to the music that falls on the inside. The lyrical content that falls on the inside harks to the thought of troubles both mental and physical that someone may go through. The band drives through this theme while toying with a variety of musical genres. Merging their sound with a variety of music genres allows for bending and twisting of their characteristic sound, and in this record, that seems to be the moments where the vulnerability shines through. This connects to the image, for when someone is struggling, they may feel like they are on edge, or that they are about to snap. The cover art that the band supplies depicts just that, for this beautiful butterfly is playing with fire standing on the variable side, but it’s taking its chances. The color of the butterfly standing alone against the dark frame speaks to the notion that it is okay to be vulnerable at times, which is a constant battle that is heard and felt throughout the record. Overall, I would say the two work well together to help create the experience that the band was going for with this release.
*”Do You Feel O.K?” was released on April 24th, 2020 through Equal Vision Records.