We’re pretty sure electronic rockers I See Stars have just released their most mature, and varied album to date.
Treehouse is the band’s first release without their former bandmates Zach Johnson (unclean vocals) and Jimmy Gregerson (guitar) and is also the first album with lead singer Devin Oliver taking on the role of unclean vocals as well. With the loss of two rather important members of the band, ultimately we knew there would be a change in the ISS sound. Which can be seen throughout this new album, shifting from a very breakdown-heavy metalcore sound to a more eclectic, electronic-rock sound—with Devin Oliver’s hypnotic vocals in the forefront. The album still has its weighty, metalcore moments, though, like the violent breakdowns in ‘Mobbin’ Out’, and the general heftiness of the deep, forceful ‘Light In The Cave’.
‘All In’ is an R&B-infused, synthy beast of a track. It’s definitely one that won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but we’ve got to give them props for the catchiness and general madness of it. The song almost acts as a symbol of I See Stars’ turning point, and it’s easy to see that this album is as sincere and genuine as they come. Treehouse is the album the band wanted to make—without any of the generic, saturated bullshit that bands are expected and forced to do.
The aggressive, disorientating riffs in ‘Break’ are cleverly contrasted with Devin Oliver’s delicate, smooth vocals. The disjointedness of the track helps to give it a deeper, unexplainable intensity. ‘Running With Scissors’ is another track that has this enthralling sense of vitality and vigour. It’s definitely one of the standout tracks on the album. It has all the makings of an emotional ballad, it just kind of lacks the ballad part. The all-consuming, vibrant melody, expressive, angelic vocals and flawless instrument work highlight just how much I See Stars have evolved as songwriters.
Treehouse is a varied, compelling album and it just might be ISS’ best one yet. Violent tracks like ‘Mobbin’ Out’ and the intense, layered ‘Portals’ are cleverly entwined with songs like the alt-rock laced ‘Everyone’s Safe In The Treehouse’ and the gentle daydream of a track ‘Walking On Gravestones’—one of our favourites. Its simple, electro-pop vibe glows with synthy flourishes and mesmerising qualities.
Granted, this album isn’t for everyone (especially metalcore enthusiasts), but you have to admit, the production is impeccable, the songs are cleverly written, and goddamn they are catchy. We’re pretty excited for this new I See Stars chapter.