Quickie Reviews Round Two

The Wonder Years: “Sister Cities”

 The Wonder Years had built up a huge fan base after their two previous full-length releases, so audiences everywhere had high hopes for this album, and the band did anything but disappoint. Throughout the album, the band takes their listeners back to their original sound with dashes of innovation imbedded in each track. These slight innovation tactics give the band the opportunity to stretch their techniques that were already so well received, but it also allowed them to use some creative liberties that wouldn’t startle their fans. With that being said, the band gives the audience a huge sense of contrast when listening to the album front to back, for they give provide the audience with fast tracks, slow ones, sad ones, hopeful ones: basically every emotion that one can think of is packed into this album. On average, the majority of the works tend to lean towards the slower side of the spectrum, but the band provides enough upbeat material that it doesn’t really affect the aura of the album as a whole. Overall, I would give this album a 4.5 out of 5 stars. This album claims this type of score because the music is generally rock solid, and the melodic material is overly memorable.

Recommended Tracks: Raining in Kyoto, Flowers Where Your Face Should Be, Heaven’s Gate (Sad & Sober)

*”Sister Cities” was released on April 6, 2018 through Hopeless Records.

 Hawthorne Heights: “Bad Frequencies”

 Hawthorne Heights, through this release, took their audience members back to the true alternative and punk mixed sound that is characteristic for this artist. The band is able to achieve this sound because of a variety of factors. The first major aspect of their music that sticks out is the fact that each song has something that makes it overly likable; thus, making it overly memorable, which is something that the alternative scene drives home through most of its musical selections. Another aspect that jumps out is the juxtaposition of texture throughout each track. Meaning, there are some works where the texture is simple, and it is used to enhance the vocal line; however, there are also tracks where the instrumentation is presented in a heavier fashion, which gives the vocalist the opportunity to tap into the more intense style of vocals. This brings the punk genre into the light, which gives the audience that authentic sound that they’ve grown to love. Overall, I would give this album a 3.5 out of 5 stars. This album gets this score because it is melodically memorable, but there isn’t anything ground breaking on the album.

Recommended Tracks: The Perfect Way to Fall Apart, Skylark, Pills

*”Bad Frequencies” was released on April 27, 2018 through Pure Noise Records.

 From Ashes to New: “The Future”

 From Ashes to New has been slowly growing in popularity lately, which is no surprise after listening to their most recent release, “The Future”. The album marries the alternative and metal music scenes beautifully to take fans back to the “Hybrid Theory” days while keeping their sound fresh and innovative. The band is able to achieve such a sensation through various musical techniques. The most obvious one that they utilize moving from track to track is the mixture of vocal types. To further, throughout each work, the band uses rapped vocals, aggressive vocals, and vocals that are sung through a clean approach. This gives the band an entire musical spectrum to work with, for they are pulling from numerus genres within each work. Next, the band works within an instrumental system where most of their hits are approached through an aggressive, articulate technique. This gives the listeners the sense of metal tracks, for they help to bring the heat, musically speaking, while keeping a generally simple musical picture. Through this, the band also uses several moments of silence to break up musical phrases, which helps to keep the different sections of each piece separated as the band is seamlessly moving between and intertwining musical genres. Overall, I would give this album a 4 out of 5 stars. I am giving this album such a score, for it is pulling influence from some of the best albums of all time while making a name for itself on its own, which will help From Ashes to New grow in popularity immensely.

Recommended Tracks: Broken, On My Own, The Future

*”The Future” was released on April 20, 2018 through Better Noise Records.

 Post Malone: “beerbongs & bentleys”

 Post Malone’s album “beerbongs & bentleys” had fans waiting down until the second it dropped, and after listening to it, they had every reason to do so. This album is more than a typical rap or hip-hop artist release, for Post Malone takes techniques from that genre, and he brings slight influences from the alternative genre here and there, which expands the likability of this album greatly. Diving into the music itself, most of the tracks have a chord progression that is relatively simple, which isn’t uncharacteristic for this genre of music. However, Post Malone takes those simple harmonies, and he provides semi-intricate motives that enhance the specific melodic line that he is voicing, which helps to keep the audience intrigued. Additionally, the artist toys with the idea of musical silence, this helps him to break up the musical phrases as well as aid in allowing some phrases to stick out to the audience more than others. This is significant, for this helps Post Malone to make musical nuances work because the silence makes the juxtaposition greater than it already was by itself. Overall, I would give this album a 4.5 out of 5 stars. This album gets this score, for the lyrical content is striking, and it keeps the audience wanting more. Additionally, the musical content, though harmonically simple, makes the audience want to keep listening because it is overly pleasing on its own through the gentle groove that is established on each work.

Recommended Tracks: Ball For Me, Candy Paint, Otherside

*”beerbongs & bentleys” was released on April 27, 2018 through Republic Records.

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