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Album Review: Breathe Carolina - Hell Is What You Make It

Electro-Pop duo Breathe Carolina are after the big time with ‘Hell Is What You Make It’ and they’v certainly come a long way since their rock roots in Denver, Colorado, but does their new album have what it takes to allow them their big break?

After a synth led introduction, the burst of screams that open track one: ‘Wooly’ are a much welcomed surprise. However, it is a pity that they are not used more generously; the verse structure of the song is a heavily synth-led gallop that comes close to anticlimax compared to the power Breathe Carolina is apparently capable of.

Perhaps with a dirtier vocal this would sound more in place, but it seems as if the band stray too far into creating a black and white dichotomy within each song, the pop-clean vocals stray so far from the breakdowns they offer in between that it’s hard to work out what this band are about. ‘Blackout’ for example is a relatively tight dance song, tailor made for the largely LMFAO and Cascada dominated club scene. And in this aspect of their repertoire it’s really their synthesisers that stand out, interesting dance riffs complimenting a vocal style that seems a lot more at home on this track than on any other on the album.

The lyrics are certainly nothing to boast about, especially those of the confused ‘Last Night (Vegas)’ but they sit well within the more club-oriented ‘Sweat It Out’ and this is where the issue lies with this band, the fun in this track and those of a similar vein are an order of magnitude stronger than those where they attempt to veer off the formula incorporating elements of more rock-orientated elements. This is their high card, and unless they fully encompass the scream-based tracks (as they show they can accomplish with ‘Lauren’s Song’) to stray away from their dancier side and instead create a dichotomy between separate songs, tracks such as ‘Wooly’ will remain far from as strong as the ‘Sweat It Out’s and ‘Blackout’s of their repertoire.

Let me clarify here, ‘Hell Is What You Make It’ is certainly not a bad album, but Breathe Carolina’s far outshine the remainder of the album, which, while worth a listen, doesn’t quite match up to the mastery they have shown they are capable of here.


'Hell Is What You Make It' by Breathe Carolina is released on July 12th on Fearless Records.

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Words by Edward Strickson

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