Emery's colossal third album I'm Only A Man (Tooth & Nail) captures the aggressive quintet building on the blueprint of its remarkably successful back catalogue to deliver the album of their lives. With an abundance of stylistic risks, the surprise-laden song cycle was crafted with the confidence that can only come from a deeply devoted fanbase and combined sales in excess of 250,000 for The Weak's End (2004) and The Question (2005).
For Emery - which also counts imaginative guitarist Matt Carter and thunderous drummer Dave Powell - the sonic ebbs and flows on I'm Only A Man come from an array of collective influences, be it classic rockers Queen - who they paid homage to in the past on 2005's "Listening to Freddy Mercury" - soul icon Sam Cooke, indie rockers Pedro The Lion or musical peers Brand New.
As a result, Toby says, "Some of the songs on this album might encourage our fans to dance along and embrace the hooks, but if you check out our lyrics, some of them are just heart crushing. We knew we were doing something different, but we didn't go too far. We didn't leave ourselves."
From its recent acoustic tour to its dual frontman approach, Emery has always taken risks. Of the latter, Toby says proudly, "We were all good friends before we started the band, so there are no egos. And to be honest, having two singers is a huge help when you're playing a full set of music. Having to sing on your own for an hour and a half, the way we play, would be a struggle. With us alternating it keeps things fresh and new."
After hitting the studio with Boesch in the spring of 2007, the group has emerged with a disc that clearly sets them apart from the status quo. "As for standing apart - we don't ever consider ourselves better than anyone else," Toby says humbly. "The awesome thing about music for us is being able to create and be unique in the context of what we do."
To which Devin concludes, "We're really proud of what we've done and we really want it to be something that stands out to people and maybe earns us some new fans. My hope is that people will be caught off guard, but in a really good way."