During the beginning of the new millennium, you couldn’t throw a rock without hitting a new emo/emocore/screamo style band hoping to make it onto the airwaves. A good number of these bands did, even if some weren’t entirely deserving.
Then there were some bands that didn’t make it, despite writing incredible songs. Arizona’s Before Braille is one of those acts. Formed in 1999, the group became local heroes in their state, being named Phoenix’s Best Local Band in 2003 by the Arizona Republic, and having their debut album The Rumor distributed nationally through BMG. They even received some local airplay for their song “24 minus 18”. Yet, despite critical acclaim and successful tours with Jimmy Eat World, Violent Femmes, The Used, and spots at SXSW and The Warped Tour, the group never managed to break through.
I first discovered the band when spotting another of their songs, “A Cinema Spine”, on an independent radio playlist. On the first listen, it was clear this group had the chops. The tight arrangement, combined with singer David Jensen’s epically dramatic vocals, sends the track soaring to stadium levels. The track is also not afraid to switch directions, moving from driving anthem during the first third to a hammering beat in the second and closing with post-punk sonics in a wistful instrumental.
The group broke up in 2005, suffering from unspecified inner-band turmoil, playing one last reunion show in 2010. Perhaps someday, if lost gems like this track, or any of the other excellent songs in their catalog, can be rediscovered, the members may decide to give Before Braille another shot.