They don’t make music like this anymore. North Carolina-based band Unifier carries a sound that feels at home ten years ago, and I mean that in the best way possible. It’s a sound that you could call emotional, but it’s not emo. It’s very melodic, but it’s not quite pop-rock. It’s a rebranding for a band that didn’t quite need a new brand. Unifier’s last LP, Colorado, had that neat, post-Anberlin sound down pat, with loud choruses filled with hooks. It’s the type of album that’s easy to enjoy but difficult to remember later on. With the band’s most recent release, we see them taking on a Brand New meets Jimmy Eat World sound that is more mature and interesting, even if it’s a tad challenging. They’re calling the new sound “progressive alternative”, and while I wouldn’t quite say this is all that progressive, it’s definitely interesting.
The most startling thing you’ll notice is every song on Gutted is slow-to-mid-paced. The closest we get to a banger is the first minute of “Sink”, which halts that momentum abruptly. However, the slow pace doesn’t really hurt the album’s momentum. That leads to maybe the second most interesting aspect of Gutted: the EP telling a story in five songs. The lyrics adeptly tell the story that is relatable and honest. However, the most interesting aspect is how damn replayable this little album is. There are hooks abounding, and the tracks get better with each and every listen. Hell, it’s mighty impressive how simple yet effective these five tracks are. The new sound has that lovely distinction of being familiar yet fresh. Ignore the rating for a second because EPs are generally tough to rate. This is a great EP from a band who didn’t need to mix things up; however, I’m quite glad Unifier did. (Nicholas Senior)