For Emeralds, following up their sweeping 2010 masterpiece Does It Look Like I'm Here? was never going to be a simple task. It was an album so dense and enveloping that an attempt to build further upon the synth epics contained therein wasn't conceivable. So after working at a release-a-month clip for much of their career, the Ohio trio took their time with Feel Anything, arriving at this more focused, albeit less celestial, effort. Compared to their predominantly improvisational past releases, everything here seems calculated. Reviewers have always attempted to draw ties between them and Italian horror soundtrackers Goblin thanks to their comparably ominous undertones. This is the first release where that really holds, though, mostly because of the reliance on traditional prog changes. Guitarist Mark McGuire is more prevalent than ever, cutting through the tubular pitter-patter with world-beating riffage that sometimes works (the title track is the album standout) and sometimes feels tacky.
MICHAEL C. WALSH » MWALSH@PHX.COM