Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Album Review: Again For The Win - We've Been Here Forever

Album Rating: B+
Our friends from Again For The Win have done it again. After the release of their fantastic debut album, Bonus Deluxe Version, they were tacked onto the Deep Elm roster in wake of their success. Thanks to their own past efforts, their new signing with the label, and the rest of the world supporting their endeavors, they grace us with another very well written album that tips its hat to 90's emo, but looks forwards to the future of alternative rock and vocal post-rock as well. The result is explosive – it has the atmospheric depth of a Hammock record, with the artistic lyricism of a home-grown emo band like Mineral, but delivers each of these with a deft hand; I would go so far as to say that I believe Ace Enders would give a respectful nod to this record, if he picked it up. We've Been Here Forever takes on a swirl of genres, and paints a picture that honors each of its prime components to the fullest.

Clearly, when the band was writing the album, they discussed structure of the record in detail – how they wanted to deliver power when they wanted to, and to hold off on it when they desired sensitivity – and how they musically portray that delicate flow is a success. The opener, “Merkabah,” puts the record in full swing, broadening the soundscape like a sun rising over the ocean, throwing the gates open wide and offering the listener the full picture, a sample of exactly what the band is capable of. The song is grandiose, rich, and echoic to the point where it reiterates its large presence, with reverberating guitars, a marching rhythm, and lyrics that bring the entire ambiance into view; “We came on chariots / That we built to fly / We came on chariots / Every single time.” Vocalist Carter Francis articulates in a syncopated pattern in order to emphasize the straight four beat pattern that the song essentially slaps you in the face with. It's an interesting take, and it really works well to open for the rest of the record.

The album does have downfalls. Perfection is a ridiculously difficult thing to achieve, and many of us have strong points, as well as weak ones. For We've Been Here Forever, the weak point I see is “Guns.” I just can't understand where the song is going – the song opens with a space-like guitar, playing notes here and there, while Francis whispers, “And we all have houses built of stone / we'll have nothing to fear at all / and I'm afraid of you / and I'm afraid of what you've done,” which has some deep meaning behind it, but doesn't really carry towards anything. The song has a good melody once it's kickstarted by the drums bringing the song around, but the song accelerates and brakes somewhat sporadically, and once it reaches a certain point it deems enough, the song just cuts out with one final line, “And there aren't even / phones on the sides of the roads,” which, true, is reiterated through the song, but again, the lyrics don't move towards a meaningful location, and I'm left with a song that refers to a lack of payphones and ends when I desire more of a solid melody that doesn't present enough of itself.

These flaws are trivial, though, once the entire view of the album is taken into perspective. “Architects” is somewhat like a bastardized Taking Back Sunday song (in a perfectly good way, of course – TBS is good, but could always use a fresh twist) and “Aspirations” is the acoustic song that every unplugged alt-rock song should look up to.There is creativity on this record that really stand through on the little things, and these tiny little pros are so numerous that they, as a collective, push a very positive look on the album. The entire thing feels very original, and really shows that it's just some guys writing music that means a lot to them. They put a lot of themselves into We've Been Here Forever, and that's the aspect of this album that shows the most. It might not be an award winner, it might not be the album of the year, but it's a good album. It gets me through long summer nights that I spend alone, fills all my needs for alt-rock, and grows on me just a little bit more every time I sit down with it for a casual listen. I couldn't ask for more, and the band couldn't have done better. Perhaps this is just a stepping stone; I know that, with this kind of creativity, Again For The Win will be able to go anywhere they please. I would say, though, that their sophomore album is a success.

Stream/Purchase Here

Track Listing:
01) Merkabah
02) The Legend Of
03) breaking_entering
04) Guns
05) Nights Like These
06) Having Heard Sirens
07) Your Heaviest Light
08) Architects
09) Aspirations
10) The Lines Above Our Heads

No comments:

Post a Comment