Cole Faulkner’s review of “Share This” on ThePunkSite.com:
I haven’t been terribly impressed by any new additions to the emo genre since Max Bemis’ original breakthrough with Say Anything. Everything else just sort of piggybacks off the same whinny Taking Back Sunday vocals and now predictable content originally pioneered by Sunny Day Real Estate – or worse, bland generic screamo. Emo has been such a stagnant genre in which waiting for the next great innovation has been like waiting for Something Corporate to reform (but hey, even that happened). But, much like Something Corporate’s patient fan base eventually realized, good things come to those who wait. And for emo lovers, that good thing comes in the form of Salt Lake City’s Les Sages.
Already having a few low-key releases under their belt, Les Sages have teamed up with Deep Elm Records for what is easily their best release to date – and arguably the best thing to come out of the emo movement in years. Vocalist Joseph Larson opens the album with a pitch perfect combination of spoken word meets melodic flow that sounds commanding, sincere, and passionate. And despite the album finding Larson continually grappling with emotionally trying topics, he never succumbs to the genre template of breaking down into an incoherent mess. Rather, Larson delivers his lines with a sense of confidence that transcends his angst-driven content.
For that matter, Share This is filled with a rare sophistication, making room for empathy rather than rolled eyes. Lyrics range from personal longings to traumas, and even a tale of a soldier’s first blood. Tracks like “Reinvention” deal with matters of the heart, but transcend their momentary fixations with moral awareness and larger issues. For instance, “Reinvention” may first feel like a frustrated tale of “admiration from afar,” but soon after artfully throws in passages like “start living with who you are/behind that veil is the rarest piece of art,” eventually leading into a discussion of the vulnerability of the human condition. “The Soldier’s Mark” follows suit, and cleverly weaves a tale of a rookie reluctantly staring down his sight to his unsuspecting victim. Larson cries “I cannot wipe from my brain what I saw in his eyes/in the moments I scoped out the shots that would finish his life/my soul died/won’t someone please hit the pause button/now that I’m here.” Moments later he ups the stakes by revealing our protagonists’ young age, instantly calling into question if anything or anyone can be truly innocent. With each passing track the band pushes their limits and challenges their listeners with insights, sad realities, and pressing dilemmas.
The band’s well-planned instrumentation enhances the album’s deep content. In fact, Share This boasts what might be one of the most balanced soundscapes in recent memory. There’s always something happening, but it’s never overpowering. In other words, despite drawing heavily upon a wealth of sounds, including a particularly emotional piano reminiscent to Something Corporate spinoff Jack’s Mannequin, Les Sages’ creates a sense of active seclusion – or a carefully calculated, naturally flowing sense of musicianship akin to quiet post-hardcore heavyweights Brand New, Manchester Orchestra and Kevin Devine.
I really can’t stress it enough, so I’ll just say it again: Les Sages have created one of the most balanced, accessible, and thoughtful emo releases in quite some time. Share This is ripe with a rare vulnerability of emotion, and boasts some seriously articulate songwriting. Even those typically looking past emo should consider giving Share This a spin.