Take just one peak at Counterparts Twitter account and you'll see they're a band who don't take themselves too seriously. It's a style that makes the Canadians an ever more relatable, and charming outfit. The truth is though, musically - Counterparts should be taken just as seriously as any other band in the hardcore genre - because they're up there swinging fists with almost every single one of them.
New record You're Not You Anymore finds the quintet blending the passionate vocal style of Being As An Ocean with the quivering rhythmic pace of The Ghost Inside better than they ever have. Add in the element of the extra levels of hook being involved in the record - and what we're looking at here is an incredibly accomplished band recognising their own ability to lead a musical style.
With a structure that almost splits the album in to two halves, You're Not You Anymore can have you feeling beaten to a bloody pulp one minute, and bellowing with emotion the next - it's a juxtaposition that works in the albums favour; you never quite know when the next breakdown is coming along to shatter your insides, making the eventual beatdown wholeheartedly more effective.
There's been a conscious effort by Counterparts to take themselves in a slightly catchier direction that doesn't take too much away from the style their fanbase is already accustomed to. As for the result - well, it's not too far of a stretch to say that vocalist Brendan Murphy makes the transition a beaming success with consummate ease. Tracks like 'Bouquet' and 'No Servant Of Mine' are given extra breaths of life by the gang vocal, hook lead chimes while 'Thieves' and 'A Memory Misread' are your go to for sounds of bruising hatred.
It's lead guitarist Blake Hardman that steals the show on You're Not You Anymore though, with guitar lines, and turns of pace which legitimately tip some tracks on the album upside down in terms of structure and sound - it makes for beautiful clean tones lying underneath the bleeding growls of Murphy. The work of producer Will Putney is admittedly excellent, and brings every member of the band in for a truly huge sound, but this performance from Hardman is the kind that would stand out in a band of 100 members. Adding an extra element to a record is one thing, but here Hardman becomes the backbone of the whole outing.
Counterparts are the kind of band every scene needs - the experienced workhorses who don't inject stale negativity into the genre, You're Not You Anymore turns the quintet from an outfit that are still searching for their defining moment - to a band that have undoubtedly produced their best formula to date. This is melodic hardcore encapsulated, THIS is the future of Counterparts.