Proudly proclaiming yourselves ‘emo’ is generally deemed a foolhardy move to make unless you move in specific emo-related circles. Shake, if you will, the inevitable comparison to the likes of My Chemical Romance, Panic At the Disco, Paramore et al, instead conjure up an image of the enigmatic Battle.
Retaining all the emotional baggage associated with the genre, IWACS deliver with understatement and are considerably more palatable for it. This isn’t the resentful, whining, floppy fringed SOS that sets anti-emo sentiment racing, nor is it the wailing chorus hurled against a deluge of abrasive feedback. Instead, it’s melodic and keyboard driven with Todd Marriott’s confessional, if pessimistic lyrics an innocent joy.
And though IWACS’ open-heart-surgery-on-your sleeve draws comparisons in substance if not style, ‘I Want You To Know That There Is Always Hope’ doesn’t play out like a lullaby.
Single ‘Pink Squares’ sees them at their angular best with an lively offbeat percussion giving the meandering melody a bit of purpose while ’The Hunter’s Daughter’ flits between two and a half minutes of bouncing pop to a sweeping, emotion wrought ode with a mazy swirl of spatial synth engulfing soaring vocals to an anthemic climax.. ‘Lucean’ is poignant and ponderous, where delicate xylophone meets despairing horn while the longing sentiment of ‘P’s and Q’s’ should ring true with anyone who’s ever fell in love: "I’d like to see you at my side/the highest high/because I’m close to you"
It’s a monument to growing up and dealing with the tribulations of life and love, and while many albums could lay the same claim, few meld harmony, poetry and tentative optimism quite so perfectly. It’s charming, disarming and extremely eloquent - emo done with panache. IWACS our Stephen Fry to the US’ Henry Rollins.