The Pupils

The Pupils
/dischord; 2002/

rating : 4.5



more info:

“EMO” NO LONGER MEANS ANYTHING AND THAT ANNOYS ME (well, it even pisses me off but I know how to behave…)

When I got this album, I was glad to hear something by Lungfish members but the music is classified as ‘emo-folk’. I beg your pardon ?? Despite all the respect I have for Dischord, it is nonsense !!! Well, I understand that Lungfish belongs to a true emo-core scene (Washington DC) and that they probably wanted to keep their roots alive since Dischord is not inclined to jump into the next fashionable musical wagon.

Anyway, in the first place “emo” stood for “emocore”, that is emotional hardcore, meaning that your music could be violent but could nonetheless convey emotions. In my opinion the bands which embodied this movement are for instance FUGAZI, JAWBOX, The JESUS LIZARD, UNWOUND, CONVERGE, KARATE and these French guys PROHIBITION. Staccato guitar riffs, powerful rhythmic section, screaming vocals. Some of the bands have evolved towards quieter atmospheres but kept all the same their emocore label (FUGAZI, VAN PELT, KARATE for example). Anyway, nowadays ‘emo’ stands for emotion and every group tends to call themselves ‘emo’ because it is trendy and because TV programs broadcast documentaries dealing with ‘emo-kids’ and ‘emo-attitude’… I perfectly understand that every band want to convey emotion, that is the reason why they are making music if they are not complete ripped assholes. BUT ‘emo’ is not a genre. It just means emotion. I don’t see why Dashboard Confessional is ‘emo’. It’s just acoustic songs and I understand why some people like it (I don’t but it’s not the point – it’s just a significant example). Hanging out with true ‘emo’ bands doesn’t mean that your music is ‘emo’. What would you do if you were hanging around only with friends who are deeply into brutal death or emphatic doom or gipsy jazz or whatsoever generic label you want to make up??? If we apply the term ‘emo’ to every piece of music that convey emotion, then Billie Hollyday is ‘emo’ (and I don’t think she’d like it), Mozart and Beethoven are ‘emo’ (God bless them), even reggae must be ‘emo’ to some people (well not for me though, sorry but I can’t go this far) !!! C’mon MUSIC = EMO.

Emocore has been assaulted. Ten years ago bands tended to be grunge and now they tend to be emo.


The Pupils play ‘emo-folk’ So be it…The album is so-so. Let’s say that it is mostly made of folk songs which sometimes succeed in conveying emotion. The Pupils is a duo made of ex-Lungfish front-men Asa (guitar) & Daniel (singing, guitar). Three tracks are spare instrumental intermissions which turn out to be rather dull and give the impression that the two associates did not have enough songs and messed around in studio to get extra tracks. Being in the middle of the album, they make a separation between the first songs and the last ones. The album does not really sound like bare versions of would-be Lungfish songs. Some of them are reminiscent of Smog (circa Rain on Lens) and of Bill Callahan’s song craft (‘Fountain Flame’, ‘the mind is a hole in the body”) and Daniel’s voice is sometimes close to Dylan’s (acoustic period). ‘All the people’ is a gentle country ballad sung in a religious way. “It’s good to have met you” is a touching delicate song in which sad, languid arpeggios enhance the soothing and gentle vocal pace conveying serenity (“it’s good to know I’ll know you till the end”). “Mysterium” is the same kind of tune except that there is a distorted effect on the voice, which brings about a great amount of nonchalance (and a lo-fi aspect too). “Jesus Christ” is a slow, folk and incredibly tedious ballad.

The songs are all unidirectional. They never evolve… Nothing ever happens. If you like the album, another way to say this would be: the peaceful pace is never disrupted.

 -(infuriated) Blacklisted Igor

/jan 15th 2002/