Couriers describes itself as post-hardcore, and while that certainly can be seen as accurate, it shows just how heavy modern post-hardcore has become – clean vocals do not steal the show in the group’s EP, Deciduous. At times, you’ll hear song structures similar to what bands like Underoath, To Speak of Wolves and Oh, Sleeper have done, with a good balance of clean vocals, screams and intense-yet-smooth riffs throughout (callous staccato riffs are rare) that are neither too hard or too soft.
The gem of this album is “Reforestation,” which flies in with a catchy chorus and even includes some chorus vocals (which are also featured in “Creature Kingdom”). Another standout track is “Driftwood,” which is a passionate ballad about losing everything that features clever symbolism that makes good use of soft vocals in the beginning and end. Both of these tracks are the lightest of the EP, with “Arbor Vitae,” “Boneyard,” and “Creature Kingdom” being the heavier tracks.
Lyrically, the album is openly Christian, (“delivered by Your grace we are,” for example, from “Creature Kingdom”) which isn’t a surprise, considering they explicitly mention their faith on the band’s Facebook page.
The screams from lead singer Alex Van Galder aren’t as desperately gorgeous as the band’s influences (example: Micah Kinard of Oh, Sleeper), but are nonetheless mature and one of the stronger aspects of the EP. I can’t help but hear in the songs a faint but promising echo of some of the metalcore founding fathers, with Couriers’ own original twist.
Many times, while listening to the EP, it seems as if the group played it safe and was afraid to break out into its own niche. But it’s nonetheless a solid start with many already mature tracks that are recognizable. Couriers is like that rookie who didn’t win Rookie of the Year, but thrilled the crowd with raw talent and hard work. Watch out for next season.