Just Surrender

Phoenix

Written by: TL on 17/08/2010 23:53:23

Way back in the mid-noughties, when emotive rock was at its very highest, a band called Just Surrender joined the fray with an album called "If These Streets Could Talk", which is still talked about among afficionados as one of the best examples of what that particular trend had to offer. Unfortunately, Just Surrender weren't above joining contemporaries like Hawthorne Heights and Matchbook Romance in going tits up with a sophomore that was too corny to even speak about. After that, fans either grew up and forgot about Just Surreder, or (like me) refused to think of the band post-"If These Streets Could Talk".

However, the New York quintet are still kicking it, and just two months ago, their third album "Phoenix" dropped state side. The title considered, I didn't feel like a total idiot listening to it in hopes of a miracle. However, while "Phoenix" isn't anywhere near as atrocious as "We're In Like Sin", a return to form it is also not. But more about that in a moment. For newcomers, I think it's suitable to establish the context we're talking in. Just Surrender sound pretty much exactly like your average Matchbook Romance, Hawthorne Heights or A Thorne For Every Heart. Their trademark is that they have two vocalists, each more emo sounding than the other, sharing vocal duties 50/50.

On "Phoenix" the band are doing what many bands surviving the watering down of the emo-scene are doing: They're trying to hack it by modernizing their sound slightly while allowing for their songs to accomodate their coming of age, letting lyrical output involve other issues than just personal relationships. I guess this is to be expected from a band that's some seven years out of high school, but unfortunately, emo bands singing about the music industry doesn't quite work. A song like "Stronger Now" is actually one of the better songs on the album, but like with From First To Last's "Throne To The Wolves" and A Thorn For Every Heart's "Pick Up The Pieces EP", it's hard to shake the feeling that the band is actually just whining about their style going out of fashion and them not being able to come up with new ideas. Those two bands did a similar thing, and none of them are playing together now. Think about it.

Either way, like I said earlier, "Phoenix" isn't a complete trainwreck. If you still like to listen to pre-2005 emo-rock on occasion, this is actually a refreshing reminder of its merit, especially because Just Surrender's vocal dynamics are actually as effective as ever. Sadly however, their songs have lost their edge, as maturity likely prevents them from sounding as desperate and heartfelt as their predecessoers, and hence I would actually rather recommend getting "If These Streets Could Talk" if you haven't already.

Download: Crazy, Stronger Now, Carried Away
For The Fans Of: Matchbook Romance, A Thorn For Every Heart, (old) Story Of The Year, Hawthorne Heights
Listen: myspace.com/justsurrenderrock

Release Date 22.06.2010
Razor and Tie Entertainment

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