Jamie’s Elsewhere is a band that has seen its fair share of lineup changes in a limited amount of time, but there’s no denying they created something intriguing and profound in the post-hardcore genre with the release of their sophomore album, They Said A Storm Was Coming. To take anything away from the hard-rock-meets-post-hardcore debut, Guidebook For Sinners Turned Saints, would be a mistake, as the band’s former lineup were fully capable of making compelling and artistic music. However, the major component holding that first album back was its lack of polished clean vocals; Chris Paterson was competent enough but suffered from pitch problems at times. With the introduction of a new vocalist and an emphasis on the post-hardcore and electronica influence, Jamie’s Elsewhere moved in a different and more generally accessible direction. They Said A Storm Was Coming is a distinct departure from their debut and could really be called the Aaron Pauley Show, as the band’s new vocalist handles both the clean and unclean vocals with extreme poise and dexterity. As the band weaves a compelling and emotive narrative about a fictional 19th century mapmaker’s long journey, some truly catchy choruses and superb post-harcore breakdowns make Jamie’s Elsewhere’s sophomore album a surprising triumph.
After two stellar opening songs, “They Said A Storm Was Coming” really elevates this album to another level with Pauley belting out ridiculously long notes to a backdrop of Mike Spearman’s fast-paced synthesizer beats, lively drums from Scott Daby and active guitars from Matt Scarpelli and Mike Wellnitz. The electronicore influence is seen in full force during the verses and breakdowns featuring mash-ups between synthesizers, keyboards and heavy guitars and drums. Meanwhile, the band’s new emphasis on lighter, more accessible post-hardcore music is also displayed in clean choruses dominated by Pauley’s dulcet vocals as he proclaims one of the best choruses on the album: “Maybe now I’ll be made clean / While I bathe in your seas / As I seek out all the dreams / That I once had / Of a life already lived / Of a gift already given / That was taken from me, taken from me far too soon.”
“Giants Among Common Men” is without question the band’s biggest single and the best song of They Said A Storm Was Coming. Pauley once again owns this track with an extremely catchiest chorus and truly impressive vocal performance. As the song reaches its climax, Pauley really shows off his ability to hit the long notes while delivering some of the most urgent lines of the album in the chorus. This album title track is short, but wastes no time in establishing itself as an exemplary song that puts this band’s talents on full display.
“Antithesis” kicks off with a sick synthesizer beat that soon combines with thrashing guitars and imposing drums to help finish the album off in strikingly epic fashion. Pauley proficiently alternates between clean vocals and aggressive screaming in this heavy, head-banging closer that asks the ultimate question of the album: “Is this what it means to be forgiven: / Undeserved blessings / And a second chance / That makes time shake and that makes lives change / When it’s only been a second in an everlasting day?”
The introduction of Aaron Pauley marked a huge change for the band, but after listening to They Said A Storm Was Coming, it’s hard to deny that it’s an improvement. Pauley would already impress just in his ability to juggle screaming and clean vocals, but the fact that he offers one of the most melodic voices seen anywhere in the post-hardcore genre makes his vocal performance all the more extraordinary. The new emphasis on electronicore adds extra juice to each upbeat chorus and intense breakdown, but it’s really Pauley’s impeccable voice that dominates this album. They Said A Storm Was Coming is consistent throughout, delivering ten impressive post-hardcore gems with the short ballad, “The Prodigal,” thrown in, which switches the album’s pace and is a nice change-up even if it’s only for a bit. Fans of A Bullet For Pretty Boy, Woe, Is Me, The Color Morale, Our Last Night, Hands Like Houses, I See Stars, We Came As Romans, Memphis May Fire, Blessthefall and Of Mice & Men will be right at home with this impressive sophomore album and its recurring, intriguing theme of failure, redemption and struggle depicted from the point of view of the mapmaker. Unfortunately, Aaron Pauley has moved on to Of Mice & Men, replacing their clean vocalist and leaving the success and quality Jamie’s Elsewhere’s upcoming third album in doubt. But whatever the case for the future, at least the group will be able to look back on They Said A Storm Was Coming as the crowning achievement of Jamie’s Elsewhere.
Final Score: 7.7/10
Rank: 1st (two total albums)
- The Mapmaker
- They Said A Storm Was Coming
- Giants Among Common Men
- One Foot In The Grave
- The Prodigal
- Visions In Sleep
- A Slave, A Son
- The Lighthouse