If Not Okay
24 July 2014 (Self Released)
By Joe DeBonis
The genre sad thrash has not been a well-documented tale of music, at least in my very humble and sheltered musical experiences. Mildura, a three-piece emo- sad thrash band out of Claremont, California, is trying to change that fact. With their range of influences listing from American Football, Sun Kil Moon and your girl friend listening to Bon Iver, they blend the already tried and tested sound of emo music with up beat, guitar driven version of punk, but instead of focusing on the screams or snarls that sometimes permeate a good emo record, they go after a more sad version of singing that really does bring to mind what it must be like when your girl friend is listening to Bon Iver without you. They go all the way with the sadness that comes from their emo music roots and don’t stop when it gets too heavy.
Sad thrash as a genre is an interesting idea. From what I can make of it, the idea is that the sadness of emo music is amped up, with the lyrics being emotional and the sound of the vocalist being as heartbreakingly close to despair as it can go but at the same time, the music stays fairly up beat. Emo records normally focus on sad themes and what not, but with Mildura and the genre of sad thrash in general, the despondency seems to infiltrate the music a little more. On the track “AAA,” right at the end, Nick Giunta whispers almost to himself “Why don’t you care at all,” and it really seems to have escaped the bounds of emo and entered a truly sad realm. On an emo record, that line might be screamed with as much angst as the vocalist could muster, but here, Giunta decides to take the opposite approach which is almost more shocking than the sometimes over used strategy of screaming.
Through all the sadness they create and the feels that are bound to come up listening to the timeless stories of heartache and loss, Mildura does a great job of staying accessible to listeners. Like horror movies and the idea people like to be scared, Mildura plays on the idea that people like to be sad or like to use music to help them wallow in misery even for just a little bit to make themselves feel better. If Not Okay is the perfect album to do just that to. Its similar enough to emo music in that sense, but then as the layers keep being taken off it becomes more and more obvious that Mildura and the genre of sad thrash they are trying to popularize is something more. The sadness is more real and the emotions are more vivid. Instead of playing on the anger that these emo music usually plays on, the sadness is isolated, making the record heavier but also lighter as no aggressiveness can be found anywhere on the record. It can be a depressing kind of concept to leave out anger, but one that is intriguing and worth exploring and I am glad Mildura is taking that plunge.
Rating: Liked It