The five young men in Phoenix, Arizona’s post-hardcore outfit Greeley Estates have accomplished the near-impossible in their brief time together thus far – when the band formed in late 2002, none of the three original members (vocalist Ryan Zimmerman, guitarists Dallas Smith and Brandon Hackenson) had been in a band before; a little more than a year later, Greeley Estates has earned a cult following that stretches from Arizona’s Valley of the Sun to the listening parties at Austin’s South by Southwest conference, and released a slickly produced and packaged album, Outside of This, to wide acclaim.
With new drummer Brian Champ now keeping time for Greeley and new bass player Josh Applebach, the boys are gearing up to spread their driving screamo stylistics to further reaches of the nation.
Outside of This brims with introspective (and often pummeling) odes to heartbreak (“Tear My World Apart,” “Without You”), existential angst (“Glimpse,” “Sheltered”), and hope (“Not Alone,” “If Words Could Say”). Greeley Estates’ strength at songwriting – primarily the boys’ flair for dynamics and emotive musicianship – is the reason that audiences at their shows crowd toward the stage to sing and scream along with Zimmerman as he and the band wail through their set lists.
Greeley Estates is a descendant of first-wave screamo outfits like Clikitat Ikatowi and Heroin, with the melodicism of emo-poppers like Braid and early Get Up Kids, and the band holds it’s own against contemporaries like Poison the Well, the Bled, and Thursday.
Perhaps Greeley’s most distinctive contribution to the post-hardcore pantheon is its infectious positivity – even the most wrenching tales of lost love are, in the end, optimistic. “If we can do something with our music that has an effect on people’s lives in the limited time that we’re here, and able to make that effect a positive one, we just feel very blessed for the opportunity to make that happen,” Hackenson says with characteristic humility.