We Never Learned To Live: Silently, I Threw Them Skyward

South Coast post-hardcore crew get guidance from the past

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If you think post-hardcore/emo is characterised by whinging teens, bad poetry and dressing like a Hot Topic Dracula, then you’d do well to listen to We Never Learned To Live and then work backwards.

Silently… is emotionally, if not always sonically, heavy; intelligent without ever being indulgent, and is inspired by the kind of music that labels like Jade Tree and Dischord specialised in when the term ‘emo’ was a new idea.

Listening to a song like the epic Twitching With Every Apology you can pinpoint smatterings of everyone from hardcore pioneers like Fugazi, post-rock luminaries Isis to underground heroes such as Spy Versus Spy’s minimalism. It’s all given a commercial sheen by the vocal performance of Sean Mahon, a man who can conjure epic choruses that glue themselves to your brain with a raw roar of bitter frustration. Post-hardcore doesn’t have to be a dirty word.

Since blagging his way onto the Hammer team a decade ago, Stephen has written countless features and reviews for the magazine, usually specialising in punk, hardcore and 90s metal, and still holds out the faint hope of one day getting his beloved U2 into the pages of the mag. He also regularly spouts his opinions on the Metal Hammer Podcast.