Black Heart, London, UK - 25/2
A Day To Remember
Written by: PP on 12/02/2009 12:00:13
A Day To Remember has been talked about in the inner circles of the music scenes for a couple of years now, and it seems it's only a matter of time before these guys breakout big time. They've got all the ingredients to do so; a ridiculously catchy and poppy sound that's also easy to mosh to, a damn loud camp of haters who despise everything this band stands for, and an equally loud camp of fanboys who think the band seem to be able to do no wrong after all, all their three records sound more or less identical - sounds just about right for a Victory Records release, eh? This is a cocktail that usually results in mainstream media becoming interested in the act (because there's so much talk of them), and boom, sales explode beyond the 100k mark. Their tours are already sold out weeks in advance in the UK, so things are looking pretty good for the band just as they have released their third album "Homesick".
Me? I've always been kind of in between the haters and the fanboys, not entirely sure what to make of this band, or more currently, of "Homesick". On one hand I appreciate the way these guys fuse metalcore and pop punk seamlessly together, but at the same time, I don't know if I can take these guys seriously, especially after the horrible da-da-da-da-dada-da, da-da-dada gang vocal breakdown that opens the album (the rest of the song is phenomenal, though). The band are still re-creating what New Found Glory was doing on "Nothing Gold Can Stay" and "New Found Glory" in their own, metalcore phenomena-influenced format, where catchy clean choruses and melodic punk hooks meet adrenaline-fueled growls and gang vocals as well as crashing breakdowns perfect for the (idiotic) karate-moshing scenesters. Many songs are plagued by an overtly formulaic approach, but when it works, such as on "My Life On Hire" or especially the best song on the album, "NJ Legion Ice Tea", "Homesick" is one of the catchiest listens you'll experience this year. The choruses are instantly infectious and memorable, and the breakdowns are so well placed that you'll be fighting against your inner urge to mosh the whole time. I've also seen these guys described as Jimmy Eat World meets Atreyu, which is fairly reasonable especially given how "I'm Made Of Wax, Larry, What Are You Made Of?" has a chorus that sounds so identical to "Bleed American" that I'm surprised no lawyers are knocking on their doors yet. Of course, this song too has some cookie-monster growling vocals thrown in for better or worse (you decide), and it's definitely a love or hate thing here as well as throughout the record.
But it's the occasions when the formula doesn't work that forces me to down grade these guys a notch. Pretty much the entire second half of the album sounds like a carbon-copy of the first half, just without killer choruses or immediately memorable passages in tracks. Another word for this phenomena is filler, but I don't like to use it here because the song's aren't that bad, they just aren't on par with the others on record. Case in point here "You Already Know What You Are" or "Welcome To My Family", both of which I had to skim through to even remember what they sounded like in the first place - this despite the guest appearance of Vincent Bennett of The Acacia Strain on the latter.
Still, it'd be a flat out lie to call "Homesick" a terrible record. There are plenty of moments where these guys really show the big-league potential they're said to have, as a quick listen to the Set Your Goals-influenced "Another Song About The Weekend" will show you, as long as you pay attention to the ridiculously catchy chorus, that is. So will A Day To Remember be the next Kerrang / Rock Sound / Alternative Press cover stars based on "Homesick"? Who knows. For what it's worth, these guys know how to put fun back into listening to music, so if you're at all into similar pop-hardcore (popcore anyone?) bands like The Wonder Years, Set Your Goals or Four Year Strong, these guys should be your next discovery.
Download: NJ Legion Iced Tea, The Downfall Of Us All, My Life For Hire
For the fans of: New Found Glory, Set Your Goals, Four Year Strong
Release date 03.02.2009