The second coming!
Unmistakeably the vocals from lead singer and song writer Justin Mauriello will have the obvious comparisons to his previous band Zebrahead, however whilst the bands are similar there is enough difference here to keep the listener interested. Zebrahead mix a great blend of Punk/Rap/Rock with fast paced and high octane energy, whereas I Hate Kate (who get their name from a mate’s disliked ex-girlfriend) have no rap, and therefore if you swapped the absence of that for the inclusion of more Emo/Punk then this gives you more of an idea about the band’s sound.
‘Embrace The Curse’ is the band’s debut album (it’s worth noting that Zebrahead are still around having just released another album, and as most of the band sing at some point losing Justin wasn’t such a major thing), however it was originally released independently in Japan last year, before being snapped up and re-recorded as we hear it today. So the second and last songs are the most similar to Zebrahead with the former ‘It’s Always Better’ having a bouncy Pop/Punk feel building into a big chorus, whereas last song, ‘Outta My Head’ is a more mid-tempo song with big riffs.
The album opener of ‘Bed Of Black Roses’ is a nice Emo/Punk number (and a first single) which is a little Relient K but with more Punk. The other highlights include the infectious and catchy Pop/Punk of ‘I’m In Love With A Sociopath’, and the intricate musical treat of ‘Then You Kiss’ that is a little like Panic At The Disc in the verse that has big plodding bass lines and almost theatrical vocals before a big anthem chorus. There’s a slightly bizarre cover of Peter Schilling’s 1983 song, ‘Major Tom (Coming Home)’ which when you get over the fact that it’s not an original actually grows on you, telling the story of the fictional character that was conceived in the drug-fuelled mind of David Bowie.
There are a couple of ballads that sometimes can get in the way, although they are both well done, with the first ‘It’s You’ sounding a little like All American Rejects, and the second one ‘Love Association’ has more than a passing resemblance to the big hit by The Calling. Through the rest of the album we have the album title track, ‘Embrace The Curse’, that could’ve been left off of Good Charlotte’s third album ‘Chronicles Of Life And Death’, then we have ‘Story I Can’t Write’ that has a verse that sounds like Underworlds hit ‘Born Slippy’ from the Trainspotting soundtrack, and a Killers-esque Rock of ‘The Thrill’.
I Hate Kate have an album here that sits perfectly between Indie, Punk and Emo. It’s a little like Cute Is What We Aim For, mixed with Zebrahead and with a dollop of Emo added in for good measure. It’s probably wrong to suggest that this is groundbreaking, but it is slightly different in a somewhat recycled way. Hard, fast, commercial and great fun. Good stuff!