The guys in Defeater like to tell stories that span entire albums. Not an easy feat when you’re in a scene where bands rarely stick around for more than one or two releases. These Boston natives however already succeeded in doing just that on “Travels” and “Lost Ground” and continue down the same road on “Empty Days & Sleepless Nights”, this time around even expanding the story with a 64-page booklet giving even more insight in the storyline.
Still charging ahead with the kind of emotional hardcore that Modern Life Is War or an “Aggression” era Verse excelled at, Defeater gives new meaning to words like ‘desperation’ and ‘catharsis’ on the first part of the album (“Empty Days”) with a story about a family where one brother kills his alcoholic father, where the mother finds solace in drugs and the other brother in alcohol. Sounds like a family feud episode on the Jerry Springer show, right?
The “Sleepless Nights” part is something else entirely and finds the band exploring folky territory armed with acoustic guitars. Saying that it takes some getting used to is a bit of an understatement. And while there are way better singer/songwriters to listen to when you want to hear acoustic music , these songs are still pretty decent.
I’m not too sure they should keep on going with the storytelling next time around though. It’s starting to feel a bit forced in places and with the booklet they’re definitely overdoing it. If I want to read, I’ll buy another book. Still as solid a hardcore album as they come though.