By Keith Carman
End Of A Year (EOAY) were always weird but now they’ve gone over the edge. For their first full-length in four years, the New York post-hardcore outfit delves even further into the strange melodicism and half-time delivery that has defined them as one of the more obtuse bands circulating around the genre for the past decade.
Essentially, as this album unfolds, we realize that these guys are scrambling further down the rabbit hole of confusion, provocation and being little more than a band’s band. They’re one of those acts people love but don’t really know why. Songs are so odd and anti-climactic that you wonder how anyone could possible care for such obvious art-rock as produced by guys with every Misfits bootleg imaginable. However, the sheer technical ability and slick construction of each song beckons us in further until we’re hopelessly entangled in the mess they’ve created.
Dropping the hyperbole, You Are Beneath Me kicks off with the rather interesting incoherent ramble of “Composite Characters” and its stream-of-consciousness banter, a wonderful attention-grabbing introduction. Immediately after however (and for the album’s ensuing duration), songs are rather meandering mid-tempo rock numbers with subtle intimations towards emotional hardcore and more aggressively dissonant punksub-genres—minus the distortion, mind you. Essentially, You Are Beneath Me comes across as if Refused
turned off all overdrive pedals, cut tempos in half and grabbed a 20-something male version of Patti Smith to babble away over top.
There’s nothing easy about the album; no chant-along moments that incite crowds and establish instant followers. Everything with this affair is begrudging and hard-won on both sides of the band/listener relationship. Yet those who stick around long enough will realize that sometimes it’s those things we fight hardest for which wind up being the most enduring. To that extent, You Are Beneath Me is case in point.