Hell Is What You Make It
With its third studio album, the Denver duo Breathe Carolina strips down its electro-rock, eschewing the peripheral bells and whistles of past works to focus on even stronger songwriting. “Wooly” kicks open the door with a confident collision of techno-laced pop and heavily distorted screamo. Hell Is What You Make It is cleverly built on a balance of contrasts. Throughout, David Schmitt’s flirty boy-next-door vocals battle Kyle Even’s feral howls and screams. The catchy “Edge of Heaven” is glossed over with confectionary pop stickiness; Schmitt sings like a matured Justin Bieber while Even lets loose his larynx demons to sound like the song’s protagonist is battling a split personality. While Schmitt sings that he’s “hanging from the edge of heaven,” it sounds like his shadow is trying to pull him to the depths of hell. “Chemicals” rubs clean dance floor beats and Auto-Tuned vocals against gargantuan distorted bass and dusty drum and bass patterns. The standout jam “Blackout” deviates from the formula to deliver a colossal dance floor anthem of Lady GaGa proportions.