re-released on Deep Elm, to much acclaim. But we really have to delve - what made Bonus Deluxe Version so good? How did the emo band coming 10 years too late still manage to make it in a genre that died out?
The answers to that lie in the song style. Bonus Deluxe Version adapts pop-punk, emotional lyrics, piano rock and a heaping portion of musical ingenuity to their formula, and it outputs something brilliant. Looking at "The Vengeance of Rainbows," the song starts pretty simply, with what sound like bass chords, leading into a low key rhythm that emulate early Taking Back Sunday in a way that actually exceeds what Taking Back Sunday was capable of in their early stages. The chorus takes a weird little 3/4ths time turn while Carter Francis spits out some bitter, classic emo vocals; "Shrug me off / Hopeless within a tragedy / Helpless - lost." However, as the song progresses, the rhythm which keeps pressing on represents more and more a man plodding on with his life, and trying to keep it together, and the choruses breaking into a quick 1-beat 3/4ths like before, become moments of weakness where he can't keep it together and the chaos falls in. The echoic guitars in the back of the choruses and verses are very reminiscent of what Modest Mouse is so famous for, and really help add depth to the track and bring a three-dimensional feel to what might have been a stale pop-punk song, without them and many other subtle devices that Again For The Win throws into their songs to make them so unique.
In We've Been Here Forever, the band asks themselves just what they can do differently, and I think the one thing I noticed is a lot more of a forward sounding album; the band enhances their pop-punk style, but does it in a way that it doesn't feel uniform with the rest of what you hear on the radio today. "The Legend Of" does a good job of this; "You told me it felt like a waking dream / We were elegant in our serendipity / One last wish before you go / Take hold. Take hold. Take hold" is heard while a powerful, driving rhythm is set up, but the way Francis sings these lines is simple, natural, and isn't studio altered like is so blatantly common in the genre. The thing separating the song, the album, and the band from any other band like them is the passion they put into their music. There's so much close, personal emotion from each of the band members, and so much motivation to be a band that can inspire hope and life and feeling in each of the listeners picking up their album to listen to. And they do get their message across; We've Been Here Forever is a modern emo record that progresses what the genre is capable of in this day and age, and splendidly showcases a great band doing their own thing.
Definitely take a look at each of these albums, since you can listen to them for free.
Bonus Deluxe Version
We've Been Here Forever