Tonight Alive

Limitless

Written by: LF on 01/04/2016 12:46:47

Tonight Alive from Australia started out on their debut album playing pop punk and drawing similarities to another famous female-fronted band, namely Paramore. On this third album, they have grown into something else entirely, underlined by the batch of music videos that have been released alongside it that all have a distinct 90's-revival vibe to them. This is a continuation of a transformation into alternative/pop rock that began already on their previous album, "The Other Side", but while that album was very dark in both lyrics and instrumentality, "Limitless" brings out more upbeat songs and a more hopeful mood.

Unfortunately, this welcome change brings with it an unnecessary amount of melodramatic airy vocals as well as song arrangements that make every track sound huge to a point where most of them get stretched too thin and appear as all spectacle and no substance. This is a shame, as vocalist Jenna McDougall's lyrics are not always as predictable or cheesy as the instrumentation may fool you into believing. Because of the similar execution in most of the songs here, many of them slide right by after a while as an endless exercise in balladry, and the entire last half of the record's 11 tracks suffers the most from this.

The opener "To Be Free" is one of the better manifestations of the album's sound as it begins ecstatically with the sound of McDougall singing in harmonies with herself before the instruments enter properly in bombastic fashion on a backdrop of wooshing atmosphere. The melodies are infectious and the track is well put together with every new part of the song forcing the energy upward helped by a firm tempo, culminating in McDougall's quick repetition of the words "I am limitless" towards the end.

The other three singles appear in quick succession and makes the first half of the record work in terms of variation. "Human Interaction" has a more downplayed instrumental side for the most part and allows for some calmer melodies in its verses that serve as a nice contrast to the more forced singing in the choruses and towards the end where the song builds up to a yearning climax. Next, "Drive" provides a poppy optimistic mood with an infectious salsa-like beat and feels like it could have been an Avril Lavigne hit, had she been in a proper band. Immediately after this, "How Does It Feel?" changes it up again as the only song on the album that really recalls the band's tougher tracks from the last album with distorted guitars and resentful lyrics coming to the fore.

After this, the rest of the album feels like a tedious repetition with big beats, echo-induced guitars, and upward striving vocal melodies giving off an air of wanting to sound big and meaningful but in the end, the songs come across as way too polished and lacking edge. There's no shortage of ambition on this album and the songs can all be said to be effectively written ones. However, when they begin to echo the striving movement of the album's cover again and again and feel like they're reaching for the sky in the same reproduced way, it quickly gets tiresome to listen all the way through.

5

Download: To Be Free, How Does It Feel?, Drive
For The Fans Of: The Pretty Reckless, Alanis Morissette, Mayday Parade
Listen: facebook.com/tonightalive

Release date 04.03.2016
Easy Life Records

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