As someone online said, “Post-Hardcore is the ultimate hit-or-miss genre”, and Doppelgänger is no exception to that rule. Post-Hardcore isn’t a genre I tend to listen to often, and I’m not even 100% sure I even like this album as a whole. What I absolutely adore is singer/guitarist Thomas Erak’s inventive and frantic guitar playing. He plays at an erratic, dizzying speed all the while screaming or singing. He likes to swap from shrill shrieks to clean “emo” vocals verse to verse, sometimes line to line. I think this might be one of the thorns in my side for this album, I’d much rather have one or the other, even though I don’t really like his clean vocals. His playing is so fast and all over the place that many people also put them in the Math Rock genre.
I Just Got This Symphony Goin’ opens the album terrifically, with Erak’s guitar ability on full display with the opening solo and breakdowns. As much as I’ll fawn over that guitar on this album, it’s worth stating that the rest of the band pulls their weight, the bass (Tim Ward) keeps up remarkably well (shining on F.C.P.R.E.M.I.X.) as well as providing vocals- mainly screams. Drummer Andrew Forsman has just as much energy, shining on Macaulay McCulkin especially. The songs blur past fast, they’re on such a high pace that it’s easy to just get swept up into adrenaline fueled march. Mouths Like Sidewinder Missiles is one of the many songs that has stuck with me for years after first listen, the main riff is just so explosive and catchy. We Better Learn To Hotwire A Uterus on the other hand is nearly unlistenable, almost all of it is shrill whines with edgy lyrics. Erak’s guitar is still mind blowing but it’s just not enough to carry the song this time.
With as much as there is to love about this album, there is enough to hate or at least cringe at. The song titles and lyrical content are something only a scene kid could love, and together with the screamo, the album just feels tremendously dated. If he had joined the right group or pushed the band’s sound in another direction I think they could’ve easily made an album that might be one of my favorites. As it stands they’ve made some pretty good albums if you can overlook some things. Then again, you might love this style and just haven’t heard of this album. Their latest album OK (2016) is probably much better than Doppelgänger in some ways, but this has a special significance for me, it reminds me a lot of my high school years. Regardless, I felt this was an album worth talking about because Thomas Erak is a musician worth talking about.