Picture Me Broken - Mannequins
Standby Records
Rock/Modern Metal
4 songs (15:29)
Release year: 2012
Reviewed by Rob

Picture Me Broken are a five-piece group from California fronted by lead singer and mastermind of First World problems, Layla Brooklyn Allman. In a nutshell, they are a slightly more metal version of Paramore. If that sounds like your cup of tea then you may slighty enjoy this, but be warned that even though they are somewhat more metal than their closest comparable counterparts, you'll find that the catchiness needed to enjoy such genres is completely missing from this EP.

Mannequins gets off to a briefly promising start with the intro song Torture. Chugging guitars push things along while a psychadelic synth riff hisses away. Then the song descends into an unfortunate melting pot of nu-metal clichés and it becomes apparent very early on that you may find it difficult to take this band seriously. The title track continues on in a similar vein with its enjoyable albeit generic main riff, and there's a half-pace breakdown at the end that I kind of hate myself for liking.

Layla sings in tune for the majority of this EP and does show some ability as a vocalist. However, the way she accentuates the lyrics sounds extremely forced at times. It's your standard adolescent, early 00's angst-punk battle cry, and sounds quite unnatural which is a sad thing considering that she could even sound exceptional if she developed her own unique voice rather than this go-to emo style of singing that one would expect from this type of band. She also screams now and then, which I'll give her credit for trying, but it's a monotone sound that lacks conviction and the music itself is too generic and passive to compliment it.

Track three, Beautiful Disguise is of course the 'ballad' track. I won't say that Layla 'shines' on this one but it does showcase her ability more than the other three. Again, the forced emotional turmoil in her voice gets in the way of any tenderness that could tug at the heart strings, and the piano sounds insensitively clunky, whether it be a result of lazy programming or just bad playing. The overall use of piano on this EP seems like a pleasant addition at first, but then you realize it's actually kind of embarrassing as none of the key sections contain any melody, but rather they are thrown in as a fairly contrived element in an attempt to be theatrical.

Nothing Further from the Truth vaguely redeems things, featuring some playful ideas and neat harmonies but still failing to really nail that much-needed memorability, and it's the same for the rest of the tracks on this EP. The only thing I demand from a band that pursues a more mainstream, approachable sound is catchiness but even on that level, Picture Me Broken struggle to write even one chorus that will stick in anyone's mind.

The production on Mannequins is actually quite slick and I will give them top marks for that. Despite their dated sound, it's evident that they have put a lot of effort into making these songs sound professional, and as a result they've succeeded in creating a mix that makes their material seem far better than it is. If you're partial to a little bit of braindead half-metal for easy listening then give this a try and it may do good things for you. If you're looking for something more imaginative, I can safely say that you're better off not paying any heed to Picture Me Broken's teenage emotional pretense.

Killing Songs :
Nothing Further from the Truth
Rob quoted 43 / 100
0 readers voted
You did not vote yet.
Vote now

There are 3 replies to this review. Last one on Wed Jan 16, 2013 5:36 pm
View and Post comments