Back to Beautiful
(Equal Vision Records)
Lexington, Kentucky quartet Picturesque is shocking the entire industry back to life with their debut, Back to Beautiful. An album that wades through heartache and moving beyond the realm it leaves people in, the twelve track release is more cordial than one would think. Even within this atmosphere, vocalist Kyle Hollis exudes impassioned urgency with a vocal performance that goes beyond words to accurately describe.
On the higher and brighter end of Picturesque sits Hollis, with a range that is beyond impressive. Lead single “New Face” is decorated in thrilling shrills from Hollis, weaving between the crashing instrumentals with patience and timing. The chorus beams with pop accents, highlighting how adept at meshing the frenetic energy of post-hardcore into the dashingly brilliant and irresistible tune. As the song continues to expand with every part, Hollis finds new ways to astound listeners, causing jaws to drop farther and farther as the limits of Hollis’ range seem to be undefinable (the final note is a B5, an exceedingly high note for any vocalist to achieve with such power).
While Hollis certainly deserves praise and attention, Picturesque offer more than an outstanding knack of vocal performances, providing enjoyable rhythmic delights with memorable lines of melody within the guitars and ambiance, showcased immediately upon pressing play to Back to Beautiful with “Fake Fiction.” The dancing guitar licks highlight the band’s ear for providing a damned right infectious tune through and through. “Who We Are” lies on the heavier side for the band, with a steady strut to the guitars with elegant tapped riffs circling around. The track’s transition into the refrain is entirely smooth, with a flood of melodies umbrella’d over the snapping drum line. “Believe” is packed with aggression, with each sequence outdoing the previous in terms of raw, innate energy. Easily the most powerful song on the album, it finds Hollis unnerved, etching demons into words and expelling them with powerful shrills.
Picturesque utilize a complex form of dynamics to further push songs to their limit, with “Speak Softly” threading together different movements between every chorus, ranging from soft introspective flares to pulsing riffs laced with distortion. Throughout the ride Hollis is there at every corner with a new way of enchanting listeners with that angelic voice. “Honestly” plays like a dissonant, heart shredding first dance that never was. Here Picturesque showcase the burning influence that crafted Back to Beautiful, expelling the nightmares with a relatable and distinguishable presence that soars above the pitfall of love and feeling broken.
Every track from this release offers moments of joy and beautifully crafted motifs. From the pulsing and emotional bounce of “Unannounced” to the pulverizing pace of “Waiting,” Back to Beautiful is an album people have to hear to comprehend the mind blowing, high octane performance from Picturesque. The record is out July 14th via Equal Vision Records.