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The Obsessives morph with emo’s changing times

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Ever since some D.C. punks rejected the hardcore aesthetic they brought to bear in the mid-80s, emo has been about change. It’s morphed with each subsequent wave while retaining an essence that connects the dominant contemporary vision back to the roots of the family tree. D.C. duo the Obsessives are as much a representation of a band ready and willing to muck it through the trenches of emo’s rising fourth wave as they are one that may soon front the genre at large. On their new self-titled album for Lame-O they ditch their most obvious emo signifiers—lonesome and looping guitar riffs, occasional bursts of cacophony—for clean, brisk melodies that feel written for a power-pop band working at half speed. The Obsessives retain the sweet dolefulness and sweeping space that’s characterized their work—now everything just sounds bigger, like the surge of guitars that gets swallowed up in the tidal-wave hook for “Now She’s Smoking.”   v

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