Released: November 19, 2021
Myke Terry // Vocals
Michael Barr // Vocals
Raad Saudani // Bass
Nick Ursich // Drums
After drip-feeding little morsels in the form of singles over the past year, Los Angeles band Volumes have finally released an album. It’s been some time between releases – the last way back in 2017, so it was more than due. Was it worth the wait? Let’s take a look!
The album starts with the jarring, industrial ‘FBX’ and what a way to start – rough unclean vocals and djenty, menacing bass. ‘Malevolent’ is like an extension of ‘FBX’ and keeps on the same track, with the bass and drumming taking centre stage and lending themselves well to that industrial, gritty sound and feel.
‘Bend’ is where things change, in a fairly huge way. This is the first song we hear the clean vocals of returning vocalist Michael Barr. This song slows down and is super melodic, and if it wasn’t for the djenty instrumental elements – you’d almost think it was a different band. I really like this song – the chorus is super catchy, and it will be a great crowd phone-waving moment live.
Next up is the single ‘Get Enough’, which is another absolute highlight on this album. The clean and heavy vocals of Barr and Myke Terry weave in and out of each other so well, and the bass and drums of Raad Saudani and Nick Ursich stay consistently fantastic. The film clip is also super cool and makes you wonder how the fuck they just casually filmed it in public.
‘Lets Me Down’ keeps a similar formula and has soaring melodies and a fantastically heavy breakdown. The lyrics are emotional and pained, and the instrumentation lends itself to that.
Don’t worry if you want more heaviness – ‘Man On Fire’ gives it to you, with both vocalists lending heavy vocals and no cleans at all. Single ‘Weighted’ is up next, and it’s full of chugging instrumentals, a fantastic melody and a heavy chorus. ‘See You Again’ is heavy but quite pretty. It starts with a slower, electronic theme and bursts into heavy vocals. The melody behind the screams is nice and works well with the emotional lyrics that say, “read between the lines / tell me I’ll be fine.”
We get back into more melodic territory with ‘Into You (Hurt)’, which has the same vibe as ‘Bend’. It’s excellent – it’s all excellent – there’s not a weak song on this album, to be honest. This song chops and changes between a few different sections, and there’s a part where it all starts to fall apart before a fantastic breakdown – so good.
The album rounds out with ‘Void’, which goes back to the jarring/industrial vibe of the first two songs with an anthemic chorus and then interestingly, the album ends with the epic title track ‘Happier?’ The song is about watching someone you love destroy themselves and being unable to help, and that emotion is felt throughout, right into the ambient outro.
So here comes the big admission, before I took this review on – I’d not actually heard of Volumes. I make this admission embarrassingly too often but it’s fun discovering so much great new music. I am so glad I reviewed this album though, I can already tell that ‘Get Enough’ is my new hyper-fixation-play-all-the-time song. I also like the versatility and obvious talent of this band. Both vocalists effortlessly switch between both the cleans and screams. The instrumentation is fantastic, supports the songs’ themes so well, and sounds so cohesive and polished. I know this band has been through a bit of a tumultuous time with in-fighting, line-up changes and tragedy, but from my new-to-the-band point-of-view – they sound like a band hitting their stride. This album is excellent and spoiler alert: it will be in my top albums of the year.
Volumes – Happier? tracklisting:
4. Get Enough
5. Lets Me Down
6. Man On Fire
8. See You Again
9. Into You (hurt)