Alive In Standby

Never Ending

Written by: LF on 09/01/2015 17:51:20

This young foursome from Detroit, MI released their debut full-length this summer and it's sure to be a treat for any fan of progressive pop punk with smooth breakdowns and catchy melodies. First and foremost this is a very well-composed and well-produced album but if four teenage guys playing emotional songs with heart-on-sleeve lyrics about teenage life and love quarrels doesn't sound like your thing, maybe you should keep your distance. Some songs are aggressive and resentful while others are sugary sweet but in the end they all have pretty cheesy lyrics.

There's a really good flow through the entire album but with that said, the most addictive songs seem to cluster in the beginning and end of it. In comparison, the middle part of the album feels slightly anonymous despite the fact that these songs have just as strong melodies as any of the others. Even though I don't think there's a single one of the choruses here that hasn't been stuck in my head at some point, what got me into this album at first was the single "Weigh You Down". This song is placed second-last and with its subdued synthesizer intro, well-placed string-backing, inventive guitar riffs, and just the right amount of screams, it's an impressive tune from start to finish. It shows an incredible attention to detail as it includes several little one-off pieces that build extra dynamics into an already energetic song, like the soft break with the extra, high-pitched vocal line before the second chorus. This attention to detail in the compositions can be traced through the entire album and there's a good balance in how most songs are thus extremely busy but also very easy to listen to at the same time.

So what's not to like about this album? While the youthful energy of the band showcased in songs like "Stay Eighteen" and "Weigh You Down" is infectious to say the least, the lyrics might get on your nerves in the end, especially when they're sung as emotionally in-your-face as they are throughout this album. The themes get tiring overall with a lot of the songs revolving around girl problems. A wonderfully rhythmic song like "Not Aware" for instance has a resentful chorus-ending that goes "It's hard to say you matter when you don't" followed up by a screamed/yelled piece of "So you think that I'm fine right / The Mr. Nice Guy that you keep pushing around / Oh my God, I just hate when you do this / Take me for granted and I will take you down". Many of the songs of the album soak in this kind of self-righteousness even when they initially come off as calm and cute love songs, like "Special Kaye" or "After Hours".

Still, it's hard to let the album go when the songs have gotten into your head in the first place. Occasionally details from every single one of them will show up in your brain and plead with you to put them on just one more time. The smooth compositions, the intelligent guitar riffs, and the impressive voice of the main vocalist are thus all elements that outlast the lyrical material fairly quickly and that is quite a shame for an album that otherwise showcases such a high level of skill. Here's hoping that this will improve on their next record as they mature as a band.


Download: Weigh You Down, Stay Eighteen, Dilate, Not Aware
For The Fans Of: Hands Like Houses, Outline In Color, Issues

Release date 29.07.2014

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