Review: Counterparts expand their sound with newest record

Sure, the title may be a bit misleading, but I say it with the utmost confidence because after 5 listens I still love this Counterparts record front to back. Sure there are moments where it’s nothing crazy unique, but lyrically it brings me back to some moments of their 2nd album “The Current Will Carry Us”. The record only totals about half an hour, but that seems like the right move to make considering how short of attention spans people have. It has some cliche moments which elude to their hardcore roots, but with that, they’ve managed to bring some prog elements into their unique sound. This is mainly achieved through the lead guitar which adds some nice leads over various parts of the record.

Besides the intro track, which is just guitar distortion and feedback fading in, the 2nd track Bouquet probably delivers one of the most iconic lyrical messages of the record. With lyrics like:

“I find it hard to feel alive while my heart beats in borrowed time.
The cadence that I’ve kept confined existing only in the black behind my eyes.”

For any person who has felt out of place from the world, or even just stuck in a shitty situation, Brendan always seems to say the things we wish we could. Some may find the instrumentation nothing spectacular, but honestly, the lyrics are what really make Counterparts such a solid band. I love the sound they achieved because while it is quite clearly hardcore influenced, the lead guitar adds proggier elements.

From there we have the song Arms Like Teeth which flows directly from Bouquet. What I find really interesting is how Brendan phrases all of his lyrics, which isn’t the most straightforward way you might think. If you’re reading along with the songs, which I suggest you do, then you’ll notice that he’ll phrase things so they fit the music a bit better. Some lines may be very fast, others might be held out a bit more. It’s honestly what makes the music so interesting.

I also want to mention the track after, titled No Servant of Mine, due it being one of the first moments where a breakdown occurs and how skillfully it’s pulled off. During said breakdown, the lyrical content goes as follows:
“The chase has clouded your perception
Beg to be buried in the sky
Dependent on the embers I provide, your fire dies
The same mud buries both of us alive
And still you search for different shades of dirt”

It almost seems as if this track is throwing shade at someone else in the music business, or perhaps I could be totally wrong about that. The constant struggle of wanting to make it big, but not putting in the work needed in order to achieve that dream. Just my interpretation, but again, Brendan is coming in with those thought-provoking lyrics as always.

The next 2 tracks I want to bring up are Swim Beneath My Skin and Thieves. Swim because of all the different metaphors it uses to describe a relationship. “You are the blood that my heart bleeds” being the most notable because it is repeated during various parts throughout the song. Thieves is the heaviest track by far and is what really cemented this record as one of the better hardcore albums I’ve heard recently.
 In the middle section, we hear Brendan scream:
“God would break character if he could for a chance to spit in your face
Guardian angels couldn’t keep you safe from me
Then he says:

With my last breath, I will strangle you to death with your own fucking hands

The lines on this track are some of the most memorable of the record and really show the message behind what’s going on in the world. It’s a short song but it does its job at being one of the most hard-hitting songs of the record.

Overall I loved the record, despite there being some repetition that could be excessive at some points. I also found out that Brendan is the only remaining member of the band, so while that’s unfortunate I think the new guys have made a good transition so far. I highly suggest you check out all of the songs on the record, these are just some of the ones I happened to love. You may not even love it, but that’s why music taste is subjective.

Here is an interview we did with them at the Charlotte, NC date of Warped Tour. 

Author: Ben Schlotthauer

Born & Raised in Northern California
Attending Chico State for BA in Music Industry & Tech
Bassist of Chico Feet

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