July 06, 2010 - Megaforce
A band comprised of teenagers is nothing new anymore. The music world has seen its share of incredible and paltry young adult performers shake or rock their way into either massive success or head-shaking infamy. Trouble is that when your press information and bio trumpet this fact incessantly, it immediately puts the advantage on listeners. We fold our arms, furrow our brows and figuratively or literally spout out, "Prove yourselves." And it allows us to shake our heads and scoff at every error in judgment when you falter musically or lyrically, chalking it up to kids that obviously need more time to mature.
Such is the case with the Bay Area quintet Picture Me Broken. Every member of the group is at the tender age of 17, and they play a decently steady version of metalcore aided primarily by the strong vocals of their front woman Layla Allman (the daughter of Allman Brothers Band vocalist Gregg Allman) which can move ably from a siren's call to a screeching roar at the slightest provocation. But, the band's youth trips them up almost every step of the way. Allman's lyrics are rife with worn-out or head-scratching phraseology ("Tastes like Nerds and cigarettes/Stained upon the lips that brought me here/I tried to chain you to my side/But the ink rings disappear"). The rest of the band settle for aping the bands who influenced them, dragging the combination of turgid guitars and hyper-dramatic keyboards and samples that have already marked the work of groups like Static-X and Linkin Park.
The nice thing about a band starting out so young is they can easily improve on this decent template. If they put more emphasis on Allman's vocals (not to mention losing the unfortunate post-production sweetening that was tacked on to several tracks) and trust their ability to write material to stretch their abilities and horizons, Picture Me Broken could turn into something truly special.