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Breathe Carolina – Hell Is What You Make It

Breathe Carolina, Hell Is What You Make It

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 2 out of 5

I HAVE to confess, I don’t get the appeal of Breathe Carolina. Established in 2007 by Dave Schmitt and Kyle Even ‘just for fun’, they are now releasing their third album.

What they offer is an odd mix of heavy, Funeral For A Friend-esque rock with dance beats more befitting a Tiesto track with elements of Moroder, Flo Rida and Italo disco thrown in.

Hence, tracks drop Ibiza and Miami style big club sounds around Goth-like wailing and attempt to straddle several demographics.

Occasionally, they get away with it, as on lead single Blackout, which wisely eschews some of their heavier values in favour of a more deliberately mainstream dance-pop sound.

But at other moments, the album stops you in your tracks and makes you go: “What the f**k?”

This happens almost as early as Wooly, when a euphoric synth intro gives way to an immediate Goth-like roar more befitting a Funeral For A Friend record. It then proceeds to mix the two styles, layering in cheesy beats and synth arrangements, with vigorous guitar interludes and more wailing. But it doesn’t work.

The same criticism applies to tracks such as Edge of Heaven and Sweat It Out, while attempts to come over all serene and puppy-eyed on the obligatory but unnecessary ballad Lauren’s Song also feel out of place.

Ironically, Breathe Carolina fare best when they just keep it pure dance, when outwardly cheesy but synth heavy offerings such as Get Off Easy and Last Night (Vegas) sound more comfortable and complete overall experiences.

Given that Hell Is What You Make It is, by its own admission, an album designed to really bring the Breathe Carolina sound to the masses thanks to production from Matt Squire and Ian Kirkpatrick (Plain White T’s, Neon Trees), it’s a curious mix that never really hits upon a successful formula.

In truth, it’s more of a hellish listen than a good one.

Download picks: Blackout, Last Night (Vegas), Get Off Easy

Track listing:

  1. Rebirth: An Introduction
  2. Wooly
  3. Blackout
  4. Edge of Heaven
  5. Last Night (Vegas)
  6. Sweat It Out
  7. Gone So Long
  8. They Say You Won’t Come Back
  9. Get Off Easy
  10. Waiting
  11. Take It Back
  12. Chemicals
  13. Lauren’s Song