A Loss For Words

No Sanctuary

Written by: TL on 17/01/2012 16:57:59

Last year, I made a delayed acquaintance with "The Kids Can't Lose", the debut album by Massachusetts quintet A Loss For Words. On it, the group presented themselves to me as an energetic, melodic rock band, with heavy traces of pop-punk/easy-core in the veins of Four Year Strong and Set Your Goals, and seeing as they flashed both decent choruses and fancy guitar work and are playing in Denmark as support for Four Year Strong pretty soon, I figured it would be cool to also take a look at their recent 2011 record "No Sanctuary".

On this record, AL4W take departure in a core sound that I find similar to that of Anberlin - particularly because I think AL4W singer Matt Arsenault sounds a bit like Anberlin's Stephen Christian - and then lean over into The Audition-ish pop-punk on softer songs like "Jetsetter", into Evergreen Terrace-ish melodic hardcore on badass title track "No Sanctuary" and into Four Year Strong-ish easycore on energetic bangers such as "The Hammers Fall".

Now, admittedly the album does start with two tracks I think are so-so - namely "Honeymoon Eyes" and "Pray For Rain" - but then once those are out of the way, "Pirouette" will pry open your ears with the strangely attention-grabbing line "and you praaactised your pli-és" and the album will then not let you go for quite some time. "Raining Excuses" is as effective a pop-rocker as can be written, with a recognizable signature riff and a bridge that sounds a bit like The Sleeping. "The Hammers Fall" has an excellent harmony going on when the vocals join its blazing signature riff in the chorus, and "The Lost Cause I Used To Be" easily offers the catchiest refrain of the whole disc, as well as a pretty cool guitar solo.

"No Sanctuary" then opens the second half of the record with a surprisingly hard verse that would be entirely at home on a hardcore punk record and later on "Jetsetter" supplies the album with fairly catchy anthem. Proceedings are then closed with "Finite", which gets better towards and into its middle eight, and "Wrightsville Beach" which sends the listener off with a solid gang-shouted singalong.

Overall, AL4W may not reinvent the wheel here, but their sound is crafted with class and conviction, and more than half of the album features consistent enough songwriting to soon send you off with plenty of hooks that can draw you back to the album. This consistency, as well as the improved sound and variety from song to song marks "No Sanctuary" as a definite step up compared to "The Kids Can't Lose", and as a solid and easily recommendable record for fans of similar types of music.


Download: Pirouette, The Hammers Fall, The Lost Cause I Used To Be, Raining Excuses
For The Fans Of: Four Year Strong, Anberlin, The Audition
Listen: facebook.com/aloss4words

Release Date 25.10.2011
Velocity / Rise Records

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