Tonight Alive

The Other Side

Written by: LF on 09/09/2013 14:22:14

Australian quintet Tonight Alive has had the term "pop punk" stamped on them since the beginning of their career but on this new album they have definitely become more of a pop rock act. They caught my attention with the release of their 2011 debut "What Are You So Scared Of?" but something about the production of that album never quite clicked with me and I've therefore mostly been listening to their EP "All Shapes And Disguises" from 2010 which boomed with a teenage energy that the band has kept while maturing over the years.

"The Other Side" is a darker record than the debut in terms of both sound and lyrical themes and it sounds even more polished than its predecessor. While the band pulls off the powerful anthemic guitar-based pop rock sound pretty well I personally think it's a shame that they chose to not build further on the rawer sound that was still to be found in small doses on their debut. This is the reason why I find songs like "The Ocean", "Lonely Girl" and "Bathwater" a little boring (though very catchy, especially the last one) compared to "The Fire" and "No Different" that have more edge. Album closer "You Don't Owe Me Anything" is an exception from this. It's arguably the most cheesy song of the album and maybe that's why I can't help loving it.

There's a good dynamic on almost all the songs between soft verses and powerful choruses but although there is some experimentation going on with the structure and the beats, for instance on "No Different", the formula gets a bit old by the last track. The record is very catchy and Jenna McDougall's vocals are brilliant, especially on "The Fire", and let me just add: she sounds nothing like Hayley Williams of Paramore though numerous people seem to consider Tonight Alive a clone of them. Of course there are similarities in that they both have energetic female singers and play roughly the same genre but Jenna's voice is softer and she rarely sings as aggressively as Hayley used to. That being said I can see Tonight Alive being a good go-to band for those who are disappointed with Paramore's new style as they are musically very close.

"The Other Side" is better than their debut album but I still prefer their sound as it was on the aforementioned EP. That leaves me simultaneously excited and disappointed about this record and I'm pretty sure the solution would be to hear it live as the songs would then lose some of the polished grandeur that can so often only be found on album productions.


Download: The Fire, Bathwater, You Don't Owe Me Anything, The Other Side, Lonely Girl
For the fans of: We Are The In Crowd, old Paramore, Mayday Parade
Listen: Facebook

Release Date 09.09.2013
Fearless Records

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