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Carly Cosgrove Does Emo Proud With Sophomore Effort In ‘The Cleanest of Houses Are Empty’ 8.5

Carly Cosgrove Does Emo Proud With Sophomore Effort In ‘The Cleanest of Houses Are Empty’


Philadelphia natives Carly Cosgrove have released their sophomore record, titled ‘The Cleanest of Houses Are Empty’. This marks their first full-length since 2022’s ‘See You In Chemistry’. They’re a band up and coming fast and strong in the emo scene, touring with the likes of The Wonder Years, Hot Mulligan, and Arm’s Length. This record dives into themes such as growing old and taking on the world with a heavy heart, and it captures a lot of the energy given from that debut record. 

The record opens with a short, little acoustic track with “Steered Straight”. It feels like a perfect way to open this record, and give us a taste of what’s to come when it comes to the vibe of the remainder of the album. It continues off with the lead single from the record, with “You Old Dog”. I feel these two tracks are a good way to kick this all off, because it shows both sides of the band quite well. The instrumental side of this one feels very reminiscent to the debut, so it was a nice call to give this as the first taste to the public. The lyrics here dive into the want to make a change, but being too set in your ways to put in that effort and feeling like your time has been wasted at an old age. I can see this song being a true staple in their set going forward, with people fully knowing the lyrics and whatnot. The lyricism continues onto the next track, titled “We Don’t Want Your Cookies”. The song title captures the energy here quite well too, as the lyrics dive into the bitterness of growing older and the want to shelter away from everyone else. The melodies delivered by vocalist/guitarist Lucas Naylor feel very memorable on this song. The guitar also comes in so seamlessly from the jump too. I appreciate the structure of this track feeling very different to some of the others on here. It transitions really nicely into the next track, with “Here’s a Fork”. The bass delivered by bassist Helen Barsz comes through immediately, and it’s a solid way to kick this one off. The vibe here gives off indie rock with a dash of adrenaline when it comes to the instrumentals. The chorus here is one of the best on this whole record, and I appreciate the lyrics changing on both choruses. Shoutout to one of the best lyrics on the entire record, with “try to be who I said when you met me”. It’s a lyric that feels so simple, yet so unbelievably relatable about putting the pressure on yourself with an image of yourself you want to live up to. It makes for an easy highlight off this entire album.

We move onto the second single from this record, and a bouncy kinda track with “Fluff My Pillow”. The relatable lyrics carry onto this one, with this being simply about the joys of sleeping and avoiding your problems. That being said, the alarm clock noise right before the chorus is a nice touch. This one feels more on the fun side of emo, and the woo’s after the chorus make this a quiet summer anthem. The lines delivered throughout feel so seamless, even if it’s the same lyric being repeated. It’s delivered in such a pleasing cadence by Lucas, that it makes for a wonderful listening experience. The energy picks up even more with “Zoloft”, as it carries a vibe that I can see going over well in a live setting. I wanna give a shoutout to the production on this record, it’s truly the perfect kind of production you’d want for an emo record in 2024. And once again, this band does such a great job at repeating the same lyrics over and over, but it feeling fresh each time. The group chants at the end here are a nice little touch to bring this one together. We jump to what feels like the most out there song on the record, with “Random Dancing”. The bass delivered by Helen on this one comes through beautifully, and it captures the gritty vibe that’s all over these instrumentals so well. The temporary key change during the bridge, as it comes back to it’s initial key afterwards is a truly memorable moment off this album. This song as a whole really reminds me of Sweet Pill, another fellow Philly-emo band. We’re followed up with another highlight for me, with “Stuck In My Straw”. This track does what any great emo record does, includes a track like this that feels truly nostalgic and builds up perfectly. The vocals are delivered so incredibly by Lucas, soft at first and then belting out those same lyrics by the end of the track. This one being right after the last song is another example of the yin and yang of this band and the kind of stuff they can accomplish within one genre. 

We’re onto the third and final single from this record, with “What Are You, A Cop?”. The main guitar riff off this one gives some real Bloc Party vibes. The drums delivered by drummer Tyler Kramer shine the brightest on this track specifically. Honestly, it feels like every member of this band is firing on all cylinders and putting it all out on the table when it comes to every aspect of this song. This feels like peak emo energy throughout this song, especially at the end. Shoutout to the lyric, “the kind of courage you can get when you’re faithful”. We’ve jumped to the penultimate track, and what I believe to be the best song on this record by a mile with “The Impact of This Exit”. The lyrics on this one shine the most on this whole record, as it dives into watching a friend waste away over time with the potential of what they could’ve been. The chorus to this one feels like it’s meant to be shouted from the rooftops, it’s unbelievable. The old dog reference in the last lines of the song are a good callback to earlier in the record. The built up aggression and genuine delivery of the bridge of this song from Lucas, as well as the final chorus really show why this is the best song on here. The power in a line like “I would rather be this mess than the one you were turning into, turning me into” holds such great weight to it. The record closes on a more chill note, with “North Star Bar”. It’s a solid way to close out this record, and it feels like it ties everything together pretty nicely. The lyrics paint a picture and an atmosphere so well, akin to how the lyrics feel when I listen to The Wonder Years. The instrumentals feel very nostalgic to a more 2010’s emo type of vibe, which I really appreciate. The ending lyric, “The world I know is not what I hoped it was. But it was there”, feels like such a perfect way to sum up this whole album and the mood it captures. 

So to clarify, ‘The Cleanest of Houses Are Empty” is an absolutely worthy follow-up to their debut record. Carly Cosgrove are here to show how emo is done so right in 2024, and it’s the kind of record that speaks to you on a late night drive when you’re contemplating life. It’s full of absolutely genuine lyricism, and well thought-out instrumentals to make it feel fresh and unique to the genre. This record is an indication of why not only Carly Cosgrove are one of the best emo bands out there right, but one of the best in the scene right now period. 



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Mathew Abraham I love movies just as much as I love music.