Sorry for being away for so long. Hopefully this long post makes up for my absence, and I assure you there is more to come…
The Photo Atlas
No, the next greatest dance-punk band doesn’t come from England. Unlike recent ATG writees Foreign Islands, Colorado’s The Photo Atlas delves less into electronics and instead prides itself on the punk aspect of their music. When listening to these guys, I can’t help but feel a little nostalgic – on their 2007 reissue of No, Not Now, Never, The Photo Atlas often draws from the raw, indie-punk sound of Dischord bands such as Fugazi and old-school Q and Not U. However, the band sounds a lot more modern than those bands of yore, using piercing guitar riffs that sometimes sound more experimental than they traditionally do with bands of this genre. If you haven’t heard of these guys yet, you undoubtedly will soon.
Although four of the band’s five members left after the release of the Unsung EP, Georgia’s The Chariot manages to successfully retain their brand of sock-rocking metalcore on their latest full-length for Solid State Records, The Fiancee. If you weren’t a fan of the band’s disconnected, chaotic style after listening to their previous releases, then you will most likely not enjoy listening to this album. For those of you still interested, you will definitely find this to be their greatest work. What I love about The Fiancee is that despite its chaos, it still manages to keep both instrumentals and vocals definitive and distinct – nothing gets lost on this ten-track onslaught, and you can even understand what former Norma Jean frontman Josh Scogin says most of the time! Furthermore, the Chariot adds more variety to their music, incorporating spooky organs, electronic effects, powerful choir vocals, and bits of melody here and there. And get this – Hayley Williams, she-vocalist for pop-punk all-stars Paramore, contributes to the album on the track “Then Came to Kill.” The Fiancee is a powerful, innovative album that will definitely make its way on all metalcore fans’ best of 2007 lists.
I’m very aware that it’s been over a month since Orlando Christian rock outfit Anberlin’s latest full-length, Cities, hit stores, but I had to make sure that you all were aware of the flawless transition between the album’s introductory track and the fist-pumping single, “Godspeed.” Cities opens up with “Debut,” a minute-and-a-half long introduction that perfectly balances static electronics with ambient guitars. If you’ve already taken a look at the album cover and accompanying artwork, you’ll know what I mean by saying that this track encapsulates the album’s urban theme. “Debut” then explodes into “Godspeed,” a transition that will surely give you chills every time you listen to it. Although “Godspeed” consists of simple guitar riffs and power-chord-driven choruses, the song’s dynamic attitude makes it one of 2007’s top rock anthems. Oh, and the rest of the album is pretty good.
The Academy Is…
I don’t think I have ever written a negative review on All Things Go, so this will be a first. I really don’t like Santi, The Academy Is…’s major-label debut. I loved their debut full-length, Almost Here, because of its unique take on pop-punk. Although they were usually coupled with fellow Chicago pop-punk giants Fall Out Boy, each band’s music had little do with the other. Almost Here’s combination of catchy guitar hooks and gutsy yet gentle lyrics made it one of my favorite albums of 2005. With Santi, the band throws away the poppy goodness that brought them to scene-stardom and replaces that with a heavy dose of glam rock – yuck. It appears The Academy Is… has been listening to Butch Walker a bit too much (they even replaced their guitarist with one from Mr. Walker’s band). In doing this, TAI has taken all the personality out of their music and instead have churned out an eleven-track collection of radio-friendly, generic rock songs. And not only has their style of playing gone bad, but William Beckett’s vocals are no longer driven by the cleverness and wit they once were. Even after listening to Santi over and over again, I can’t seem to find much to be happy about (but I have to give the band some credit – the single “We’ve Got A Big Mess On Our Hands” is pretty catchy). Thanks for breaking my heart guys – I’ll treasure the two happy years we spent with each other.
MP3: The Academy Is… – We’ve Got A Big Mess On Our Hands