At The Skylines

The Secrets To Life

Written by: TL on 20/12/2012 20:12:22

You don't have to spend much time checking up on California sextet At The Skylines online to start accurately guessing what kind of band they are. The music on the newcomers' debut LP "The Secrets To Life" essentially consists of two modes: 1) let's sound like trolls trying to out-roar an avalanche of bricks and 2) let's get catchy with slightly slurred, slightly auto-tuned, high pitched choruses and electronic samples. It's a shameless back and forth that caters directly to fans of the current wave of simplified scenecore that's already represented by bands like We Came As Romans, I See Stars, Issues and Attack Attack!

Fortunately it is also relatively quickly discovered, that while some of the massive chugging sessions on here are quite simple-minded, others do actually manage to sound pretty ravaging, and during both those and most of the melodic parts, you get the sense that while At The Skylines aren't exactly ones for carefully integrating each part of their compositions, they are at least relatively ambitious within the separate parts. Early highlight "Shady Dreamin'" surprises positively with a rush of breackneck speed come chorus time and the melody that follows is fairly catchy as well, and generally, we see occasional flashes of technicality and timing here that goes some way towards redemption.

Unless you're a stereotypical stick-figure with a big colourful hair-do, who feels that perfect songstructure is mosh-friendly part/chorus/mosh-friendly part/chorus and so on, there can be no doubt that At The Skylines are a group that need to do things to redeem themselves though. Because of this lazily calculated method of putting songs together, the technical qualities of the separate parts never come off as more than cool displays of skill. There's little sense of coherency in any of the songs, nor do they stand much apart from each other (or from ones offered by similar bands) and but for a welcome guest appearance from Sleeping With Sirens' Kellin Quinn in "The Amazing Atom", I'd have to say the cleans, while decent, are short on any memorable character as well.

The overall verdict then, is that "The Secrets To Life" casts At The Skylines as a band that do not quite rise above the standard for the current state of the genre, nor as one that necessarily has had ambitions to do so. Actually it sounds very much like a record made from sentiments alá "let's do exactly what these new bands we like are doing so we can get fans and go on tour with our heroes!". The production is nice and meaty/glittery when it has to be (as has become customary for American bands of this type) and generally, I feel like you could do a lot worse if you're out to crush, croon, crush, croon repeat. There's just still a massive void here, where better bands have unique identities, an audible desire to say something with their songs, interesting musical ideas and so on, and the lack of these things make even the things At The Skylines do well wear down their novelty over the span of a whole album.


Download: Shady Dreamin', Turbulence, The Amazing Atom
For The Fans Of: Issues, We Came As Romans, I See Stars, Attack Attack!,

Release Date 08.05.2012
Roadrunner Records

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