Alexisonfire and Saint Alvia have long been well-respected bands on the Canadian post-hardcore scene, so for members of each to combine forces and form Say Yes, it seems like a real winning formula.
What becomes very clear is that their formula for Real Life Trash Mag is to play hard and loud. There is not much range to the album (save for the spell-binding ‘Sea Of Trees‘ to close the album) which can feel a little grating after a while. It is played well and well constructed, but it would be nice to get some extra textures.
The frantic ‘Once Forward Twice Back‘ gets proceedings under way and is a fine slice of high-energy post-hardcore, complete with catchy choruses, occasional time signature shifts and toe-tapping verses. ‘Dying To Make You Blind‘ does manage to grow and swell and is potentially the highlight of the album aside from the aforementioned ‘Sea Of Trees’, but after that, everything could be described in the exact same way as the opening track. Verses you can groove to and big choruses are the order du jour and before long, you forget that there is any other structure to songs.
The lyrics are dark and brooding, meddling in the realms of cynicism and offer something for fans to quote and love for years, but for a band consisting of 10+ year consummate professionals of the rock game, it all feels a little lacklustre and may leave a bit of a bitter aftertaste on the whole for some.
But for a debut record, it’s a fine effort. Neither mind-blowingly brilliant, nor offensively bad, it’s just an album that has happened and that exists. Strong feelings be damned.