2006 was really the year for Nitro Records: hot off the heels of the fantastic 2005 release 'Ruiner' by A Wilhelm Scream...the said label promised some fine releases for the following year. One of them was Much the Same's 'Survive'.
I had listened to their 2004 release 'Quitters Never Win' alot. The album showed promise, though I felt the songs were very samey and the production wasn't full..unfortunately for me..I barely knew they were going to have a new album out, let alone expect much from it. But when I found out about it, I picked it up.
And it's stunning. The majority of the songs are great. The band sounds alot fuller and tighter and all that good stuff. I had heard 'Greatest Betrayal' the first song when it was a demo on the Myspace round about when I got Quitters Never Win, and despite the addition of a new chorus, I had already listened to the song many times and had my fill, it is still a great song however. Other great songs are 'Gut Shot', 'Take What's Yours' and 'Wrecking Ball' and are the kind of thing that you would hear on Fat Wreck Chords in the 90's.
The album has it's downside in the fact that, yes, it's not the most innovative album in existence. And it's also apparent that the album seems to mirror 'Siren Song of the Counter Culture' by Rise Against. The drum fill before 'American Idle' seems very similar to the one that's in 'First Drop' on the aforementioned album. Also, 'What I Know' although it's a heartfelt, and quite excellent song, I can't help feeling that this is what Rise Against could have done with 'Paper Wings' had they left out the annoying acoustic interlude.
Originality issues aside...the truth is, 'Survive' is one of the finest American punk rock releases of 2006. It's not innovative, it's not life changing - but it get's the job done.