The Awkward Romance – To Breathe Is To Compromise (CD)

The Awkward Romance is a bizarre mixture of emo and rock that comes out not sounding like any one specific band, but showcasing different influences throughout. Taking the lead duties of vocals, the sound of “Wake Up, Wonder Twins” really begins to increase the stock of the CD, and the double-vocal assault of “Like Hypochndriacs Need Placebos” just provides another notch in the band’s belt. The music is not at the edge of experimental pieces, but really provides listeners with a familiar yet fun emo-rock assault. This is the case with the aforementioned “Placebos”, which really renders the vocal interplay between bandmates in the most memorable way. In this song, the instrumentation of the track really takes a backseat to the musical qualities of the vocal sections; while the instruments regain dominance after the vocals go quiet, this is undoubtedly a vocal track. The memorable vocals of the track provide listeners with a mental marker that will surely make this one of those tracks immediately recitable during a live show.

The long-drive aspect of the track which is achieved by using lengthy guitar riffs really make this track provide the atmosphere of a late summer get together, one that is necessarily rendered bittersweet by the fact that many of the summer friends will never see each other again. “Return To Sender” struggles to make itself known amongst the rest of the discs songs, but even when it continues the same general sound of the disc, it does not provide the same attention to experimentation that mark the rest of the disc. “I Swear On Clarity” restores the luster of experimentation to the band, even if the general sound espoused by the band on this track looks back to 2000-era Deep Elm Records than anything completely new and vital. The heavy reliance on echo during the track also detracts a great deal from the band’s general sound, which even feels more refined through the fuzzy curtains that stop listeners from truly enjoying the act.

Finishing out their disc with “490”, The Awkward Romance really steps up to the occasion and makes a memorable track to leave their listeners with. The music on “To Breathe Is To Compromise” is above average, with only the most minor of backslides to make what is a hard-working and euphonic act. The minor guitar solo found on the track really gives listeners hope that their full-length will expand upon the good found on the disc and minimize the bad.

Top Track: 490

Rating: 5.9/10

The Awkward Romance – To Breathe Is To Compromise / 2005 Self / 6 Tracks / / / Reviewed 23 May 2005

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