Saturday, June 25, 2011

Album Review: There For Tomorrow - The Verge

There For Tomorrow has always been a band lumped in with the wrong category of acts. Touring with bands such as We The Kings, Mayday Parade, Every Avenue, and All Time Low may have scared of some of the band's more suitable potential fans, as There For Tomorrow never fit within the genre of that group of bands. On the band's Hopeless Records debut self titled EP and LP A Little Faster, the band showed a knack for crafting contagious hooks while surrounding them with powerful, crushing guitar riffs and lead singer Maika Maile's outstanding vocals. With The Verge, the band attempts to break out of their pop-rock image, drastically improving the instrumentals and musicianship, while Maika's vocals improve from excellent to unbelievable. But something seems missing in The Verge, as the charm and appeal of the band's past work seems to have disappeared.

From the beginnings of the band, There For Tomorrow always had a pop sensibility to their music. The chorus of "Pages" was enormous, and showed off the band's massive talent in both songwriting and musicianship.  "Stories" was probably the poppiest song the band has put out, with a dancey feel in the beat, but it was still one of the highlights of A Little Faster.  "Hunt Hunt Hunt" is the closest the band has to having one of their customarily powerful hooks, while also showing off the band's new, more technical direction. Groovy bass riffs lead the verse instrumentation, which includes partially distorted guitars and eerie electronics, while the choruses stick more to the band's older, more simplistic style. As the first song released off the album, "Hunt Hunt Hunt" inspired hope within the band's fanbase that The Verge would live up to expectations.

However,  there are very few songs with even close to as strong of a hook as "Hunt Hunt Hunt" or any song from any pre-The Verge release. Rather than enhance the band's excellent songwriting skills with their newfound technical prowess, the band loses pretty much all instances of catchiness and sustainability from their music. "The Joyride" has absolutely no energy in any part of the track, while the attempt on "Circle Of Lies" to have a massive chorus just seems to be missing the little oomph needed to transform it into a successful rocker. "Get It" is an eerie bass and odd, siren-like electronics centered song that launches into a stadium rock chorus that just has no cohesiveness between sections. "18" is the closest attempt to having another "Stories", but the track again misses the point, as the lack of a successful transition between verse and chorus ruins the potential standout.

Other than the beautiful piano ballad "BLU", in which Maika shows off his falsetto and his natural vocal talents, there isn't a single track that stands out enough to be memorable. The worst part about this disappointing effort is the obvious attempt to move their music to the next level by creating more sophisticated arrangements, which seems to have caused the band to forget how to write a simple catchy hook.There For Tomorrow has one last chance to combine this newfound technical skill with a "Pages" or "Stories" like hook. The band has the natural gifts to create another great record. The Verge is half of the answer. But without the other half, There For Tomorrow is nothing.

Disclaimer: After I finished writing the review, I noticed that the copy of the album I was sent was missing track twelve. For now I'm assuming that the track fits under "forgettable", but if the track does blow me away, I will edit the review accordingly.


Track List
1. The Verge
2. Nowhere BLVD.
4. The Joyride
5. Hunt Hunt Hunt
6. Circle Of Lies
7. Get It
8. 18
9. Slip Inside (The Barrel Of Your Gun)
10. BLU
11. Stopwatch Affair
12. I’d Be Changing If I Were You

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