As the veritable protégés of The Human Abstract, Fresno, California natives Art By Numbers deliver a lot of the tempered chops you would expect. Virtuosic eruptions of scales and sweeps, grandiose piano accentuation and a variety of shifting gears are all apparent calling cards.
For every fierce throaty breakdown, spiraling proggy riff and thick plastering of guitar wank; Art By Numbers have a softer counterpart. Through this odd amalgam of glossy melodies and chugging riffs, the band attempt to elegantly harness their aggression.
Their uninhibited commitment to their craft only furthers this. That is to say that there’s surprisingly little hesitation for the outfit to jump into an adventurous jazzy groove or a full-on poppy sing-along.
In turn it’s hard to deny that Art by Numbers are a fairly commercially-friendly band. Their overall style recalls rather bright shades of not only their proverbial mentors, but outfits like Circa Survive and Tides Of Man. But while the groups emotional balance is inspired, its continued lighter touch can quickly dilute its substance. Waging a melodic onslaught that sounds like half of the Rise Records roster in 2012 doesn’t exactly establish an identity—though the blistering musicianship certainly tries its best to make a mark.
Sure there’s a lot of potential found on “Reticence: The Musical“. There’s some catchy hooks, chunky grooves and a few clever surprises. But too often does it fall victim to its own sprawling range and inconsistent emotional contrast. The groups balance is skewed firmly to their softer side, making the less prevalent heavy moments the most memorable.
If “Reticence: The Musical” proves anything, its that Art By Numbers truly have a handle on their instruments. Now they just need to work a bit more on their “screenplay.”
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