Hell Is What You Make It
Breathe Carolina's third album Hell Is What You Make It finds the duo of Kyle Even and David Schmitt refining their amalgamation of sounds into something both slicker and more powerful than past efforts. On their first two albums, they built an impressively jury-rigged sound made up of electronic, dancefloor-friendly beats, crunching guitars, squiggly synths, and Auto-Tuned angst. To this they added pleasingly wispy vocals (which are drowned out by cartoon scream shouting at comically inopportune times) and songs that touched the usual emo places but also conjured up the ghost of the Archies and other bubblegum giants. Here they sound even more like the Day-glo descendants of '70s AM radio as programmed by the spawn of Daft Punk and Jimmy Eat World. Churning out huge choruses and crooning through sad love songs like puppy dogs, and even treading dangerously close to emo-fied boy band territory on the gloriously cheesy "Last Night (Vegas)," the whole record is filled with songs that you'll be sure to hear booming out of Hot Topics all summer long. Real, sad emo kids will shun this like sunshine and anyone fooled into thinking there is any punk rock promised will be horrified, but anyone who wants a fairly mindless, completely sugar-coated pop thrill could do much worse.