June 23, 2004

Various Artists "The Hope I Hide Inside"

The Hope I Hide Inside is the tenth and final chapter of Deep Elm's popular and long-running Emo Diaries series. Don't let the finality of the series convince you that Deep Elm's ending on a sour note, though. Earlier this year Deep Elm suffered an unfair and unjustified trashing out by an indie-rock scenester and a highly-paid 'underground' music writer for Spin who really liked talking to underage girls in Nothing Feels Good, a book aimed squarely at the emo demographic. The Deep Elm section of the book seemed to be nothing more than personal vindictiveness--one that didn't take into account the fact that the label's roster has taken a turn towards diversity, and their overall sound is losing that whole 'emo' thing.

Still, the series was a good one, introducing many new and optimistic young bands to a world that normally wouldn't have heard of them. Recent volumes have offered introductory tracks for new Deep Elm bands--for example, Lock and Key and Sounds Like Violence are two bands here who have recently released records on Deep Elm. What was most astonishing about this series was the fact that many bands that appeared were from remote corners of the world. Once again, Volume Ten is no exception to this rule, with bands from places as Georgia to Sweden to England to Norway to Israel--many of these bands being quite impressive, and the fact that you probably wouldn't have heard of them were it not for Deep Elm should be enough for you to want to send the label a thank-you letter.

While this volume seems a bit shorter than previous versions, it's not for wont of quality or diversity; from the pathetic, psychotic singing of Sounds Like Violence's "The Light Is Such a Beautiful Sight" to the sweet crooning of Latitiude Blue's "On The Corner," The Hope I Hide Inside never falls into the trap of monotony, and nearly every track on this too-brief collection is a winner. Personally, I'm fond of the gentle "Jus Primae Noctis" by The Silent Type," Lost on Purpose's sad, mornful "Friends" and the crunchy "Red Makes White" by Hercules Hercules. The winner here for me is the epic "A Window's Pain" by A Month of Somedays. This song has it all: really great lyrics, interesting vocals and a driving yet sad beat that won't stop.

The Hope I Hide Inside may be the last Emo Diaries, but it's not the last you've heard from Deep Elm. A nice closing chapter in this label's history this may be, it's only offset by the fact that they've restarted a series that's identical in nature to the Emo Diaries series. The emo term abandoned by one of the labels who became synonymous with the tag? Does this mean that emo is dead and/or dying?

God, I hope so.

--Joseph Kyle

Label Website: http://www.deepelm.com

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