Gosh, where to start, because this is a very long way from the beginning! InME are an Essex-based band who have been around for a surprisingly long time – their debut album Overgrown Eden was released in 2003 and reached #1 in the UK Rock Album Charts. Six successful studio albums later, and having toured with the likes of Alien Ant Farm, Nickelback, Limp Bizkit, Pendulum, Deftones, Feeder and Biffy Clyro, their latest offering Jumpstart Hope is due out in January 2020.
I have to confess that when starting this review, I knew nothing about the band and their history – so how best to describe them to you, the punters? Expressions like Alternative Rock, Alternative Metal, post-grunge, and even “emo post-hardcore” can be quite confusing and over-used; and this band has evolved and changed steadily since the days of Overgrown Eden, which was pretty heavy, dark and metallic. Dave McPherson, the lead singer and prime creative spirit within the band, started off with vocals that were a kind of angst-ridden rasp but these days sings with a cleaner, softer, vulnerability – he strongly reminds me of the two sides to the voice of Linkin Park’s late, great, Chester Bennington, bless him. Perhaps the different tones are an echo of Dave’s sometime struggles with mental health issues, and you can see that reflected in some of his lyrics. But although some of the tales come from the dark side the lyrics are poetic and infused with soaring melodies, hugely catchy tunes and choruses, essentially uplifting.
Blend Dave’s unique voice with a series of sometimes grunge-like chords, mainstream pop sensibility, technical and prog riffing, sweet lead guitar licks and a top-quality bassist and drummer, and you have a very unusual mix of haunting, chilling, heaviness, gentleness, darkness and light, energy and delicacy that fast grows on you! The comparisons that occur soonest to me include Linkin Park, British Sea Power, Deftones, Radiohead, maybe a hint of Biffy Clyro?
Each of their albums has been different from the previous release, charting an emotional journey through life. What doesn’t change is the great mix of technical yet melodic metal within catchy rock songs, brilliantly written mellow tunes. Everything from reflective, almost angelic singing to growls and screams, within a set of catchy, heartfelt songs that have an intelligence about them that rises above any hint of arrogance. This album contains ten tracks that stretch across the borders of rock, metal and prog, the first four having already come out in the same order as singles, illustrating InME’s broader sound now that they are a quintet with John O’Keefe on guitar. Founder and chief vocalist Dave McPherson explains that with the band’s expansion has come a more complete album that is much more of a collective creation than his previous “self-elected control freak” days. He’s clearly happy to have let his guard down!
Launching with a heavy but tuneful opener of ‘Blood Orange Lake’ (a double-edged love song with a hidden ode to self-loathing), Jumpstart Hope covers a multitude of raw, universally shared topics and emotions. Second up is ‘The Next Song’ which has some great guitar work – juicy riffs, sweet licks and an anthemic chorus about near-obsessive love. The third single / song ‘For Something To Happen’ has (as with one or two others here) a real ring of British Sea Power about its composition but with the added poignancy and charm of Dave’s voice, which I venture to suggest is at least as strong as Yan, the BSP leader. ‘I Swear’, the fourth and recently released single is a confession of fault and guilt elegantly captured in the lyrics.
Themes of shame, anxiety and depression continue to be touched on throughout the album but without becoming oppressive. They are instead nicely balanced by a sense of reflective calm in tracks like ‘Ancestry’, and by messages of hope and brotherly bonds across the band as a whole along the way. This is an emotionally-charged album, but if you’re prepared to try it out, and discover the enigma that is InMe, you’ll be agreeably surprised. Recommended to anyone who appreciates real music, at the very least go sample these guys and this album, you won’t be disappointed! The link for fans to follow is https://inme.lnk.to/jumpstarthope – enjoy!