August Premier

Happy Miserable

Written by: PP on 20/03/2012 04:17:46

Considering that long time Alkaline Trio producer Matt Allison was turning the knobs for the third August Premier album "Happy Miserable", it's no surprise to find that the record contains many of the same qualities that you found on early Alkaline Trio albums. The key difference being, of course, that August Premier are essentially a melodic punk-tinged pop punk band, whereas Alkaline Trio were always driven by the gothic vs joyous contrast in their sound and lyrical universe while pioneering the switch-of-the-millennium melodic punk sound. For the undersigned, that's of course a rather favourable comparison; the album certainly contains its fair share of moments where your mind will be drawn to classic Alk3 moments from their early era.

But petty bias aside, it's far more important to recognize that August Premier aren't just an Alkaline Trio clone band. While the inspiration is undeniable particularly on "A Good Day For The Birds", "World's Away" and "Remember The Pines", the band take a similar line as American Steel in interpreting their inspiration in their own way, sometimes going deep into pop punk territory, sometimes playing out from a Foo Fighters-inspired alternative rock platform (see: "Foo Figgity" with its classic FF melody line), but most of the time acting somewhere in the middle ground between all three mentioned styles while playing great songs.

Though the songs are never immediately catchy in the same way as most modern pop punk songs, they are definitely growers. The vocal melodies have depth in them, and often strike out as well-thought out and intelligent, even if it does take a few listens to appreciate them properly. Much of this has to do with the varied vocal performance, which always remembers to add that little bit of strain and character into the singing style to stick out. It's almost like halfway into a shout or a scream at times, while contrasting that passionate performance with smooth and nicely melodic style elsewhere. This is of course exactly the dynamic Alkaline Trio have perfected ever since "Goddamnit" in 1998. Now, it may be that August Premier haven't quite written a "From Here To Infirmary" here or even "Maybe I'll Catch Fire", but for anyone who's been missing the less polished side of Alkaline Trio in recent years, this band and "Happy Miserable" could be the answer to their search of a replacement band.

For one, it has enough catch-phrases to draw your attention to it, but more importantly, the subtle melodies are too irresistible to ignore over the long run. If you like grower albums, don't miss out on "Happy Miserable".

Download: Foo Figgity, Little Girl, World's Away
For the fans of: Alkaline Trio, Smoking Popes, American Steel
Listen: Bandcamp

Release date 27.03.2012
Pacific Ridge Records

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