by Dylan Goodman

I think it’s a good thing most of the songs on Burden Piece are under 3 minutes. Not because they’re bad songs, but because I think all of that existential angst could really get to somebody in big enough doses. Clique label themselves under the broad “soft rock” on their Twitter, but in reality, their music could definitely be called emo rock and even borders on the gothic. The riffing is dark and heavy, emphatic on the bass side of things and the bulk of the lyrics are very sulky and self-examining.

The album sounds excellent as a whole, the dual guitar playing by PJ Carroll and Brandon Shipp, Travis Arterburn’s bass and Tom Anthony’s drumming lace together to great effect, creating some intricate and powerful grooves. It’s surprising and a testament to their skill that they can gel so well together, considering their different backgrounds. Carroll has played in both indie-folk-punk group The Hundred Acre Woods and math rock group Girl Scouts, while bass player Arterburn used to play drums for fast-paced punk rock group Ted Nguyent.

Vocalist/guitarist PJ Carroll sings the grungy, ennui-laden lyrics, “Deny yourself out of necessity/ Starve the essence of one’s being”. The general philosophy of the Philadelphian quartet seems to be one of acceptance, embracing the sad times. Take “Usage” for a good example of what you’ll find, a track that reeks of sadness and self-loathing: “Sometimes I wish I was someone else/ because I have no control of myself”.

The pacing of Burden Piece is pretty steady throughout, only picking up considerably with the snappy “Crater”, a hard-hitting track just barely over a minute long, near the halfway point. Personal highlights are the honest and introspective “Usage”, and it’s following track, the laid-back folk-tinged “Boundaries”.

So that’s it, if you happen to wake up in a bad mood, these 13 brooding nuggets of emo-rock should help you get through the day.