Review Summary: Amber Pacific delivers, bringing enhanced guitar work, fabulous drumming, and a charming vocal style to the table all of which contribute to a mature and impressive record full of surprises and delight.2 of 2 thought this review was well written
Pop punk is a genre that has gotten rather safe over the years. I mean a simple yet effective hook over a moderately catchy riff and a half time chorus can seemingly promote hometown nobodies to the myspace charts over night and then in turn lead them on a journey to ‘sweep the nation by storm’. Am I complaining? Am I saying pop punk is a dead or dying genre? Am I saying the majority of up and coming bands sound alike? The answer to all of these questions is no. And to sum it up in short I will simply state that it seems plenty of pop punk lacks honesty and surprises. Amber Pacific’s second full length album on Hopeless Records Truth In Sincerity
contains both of those characteristics and is filled with maturity and improvement while still maintaining their trademark energetic sound. A good record was anticipated; what came out was an excellent one.
Those who know the band know that they waste little to no time in getting in their releases, so for once the slow intro track was NOT expected. Let’s also not overlook the fact that instead of relying on computer production for suspense they had their very own guitarist play piano and brought in a tiny string section as well. Indeed “Rule #76’
only builds upon what anticipation was felt for the record. It certainly sets up for greatness and things do not disappoint from their. “Summer (In B)”
opens with a great drum fill showing improvement in Dango’s category. The energy is apparent right from the get go and is maintained throughout almost the entire track. By far the biggest surprise of the track are not one but two guitar solos. They blend in perfectly and really accent how the band has improved and mature. Lyrically things are very emotional as the topic is a strong friendship “You’re the strength that’s inside/and I swear on my life/I will always be there by your side”
. Matt Young’s vocal delivery is very strong especially when he digs in towards the end of the bridge. A high standard for the record is immediately set and the group manages to maintain it in the tracks that follow.
The enhanced guitar work shines on tracks like “You’re Only Young Once”
which introduces some very catchy, effective and very well placed riffs. After a fairly standard but charming guitar and vocal intro a poppy and energetic riff arises. From there Will goes on to modify it during certain sections of the verse. Along with solos, the guitarist has also added pinch harmonics to his bag of goodies as he lets a few rip during a riff following the chorus. Despite following fairly typical arrangement, strong guitar work and more solid beats add to another enjoyable track. I recall the first time I saw the title “Follow Your Dreams, Forget the Scene”
I prayed it would be an awesome song due to its title. Another delightfully catchy guitar riff with strong bass accents opens up the song in promising fashion. From there vocals seem to take the spotlight and with good reason due to sincerity in them and their message. There is a perfect buildup to the chorus which is one of the best on the record “Caught up with the way life seems to make you/feel as if to say I won’t make it through/you’re hanging by a thread when no one seems to care/but you’ll find it in your heart/I will be there”
The delivery is spot on as is the phenomenal modification of the final chorus. If that description wasn’t obvious enough, my wish was granted by another energetic and genuine song.
The softer side of the record comes out with “Take Me From This Place”
. The sole piano opening is excellently constructed as it manages to work both alone and with the rest of the group in the verse smoothly. While solid, the music work here is nothing superb and at times the lyrics get a tad too direct and cheesy “Unspoken words can’t convey/I’ll move on anyway/I can’t hide behind what I don’t know/have I lost it all?”
The strong melody of them makes them sound much better to the ears then they look to the eyes on paper. Despite some early shake ups, the string section towards the end really takes this one to new heights and marks it as a nice shift from the majority of the record. From there the first single of the record “Fall Back Into My Life”
brings back the energy. Consistency in quality is a theme once again as the track is filled with more enjoyable guitar work. The song certainly has an undeniable flow to it and once more incorporates a strong and effective stringed section. Bass comes through with some strong lines as Greg does not sit in the dark inaudible. A fluent flow, strong instrumentals, and more soaring vocal lines make this an excellent choice for a leading single. It has a heck of the hook and comes complete with surprises.
I didn’t plan on addressing “We Think We’re Hardcore, Cause Well, We Are”
but I’m sure plenty of you are curious as to what this song exactly sounds like with that title. I’m pretty sure it’s a joke of an instrumental song as the guitar harmonization is fairly silly. Filler? Possibly. Thankfully the ending of the record is just as strong if not more then desired. “Dear ____, This Has Always Been About Standing For What You Believe In…”
opens with a softer riff over some moderate start stop rhythms before the introduction some octave chords. It certainly locks in a reasonably epic atmosphere. As the title suggests the song is about staying true to yourself despite the fact that the world and those in it often times aim to influence you by their opinions. Lyrically things are strong as despite appealing towards a general audience, certain specifics are picked up as an individual is addressed stating how their true self was the one loved. Clocking in at a rather long length, things rarely become boring and the group really manages to pull off an epic ending. After a slow bridge things explode into an emotional guitar solo over more violins in the background. It is incredible in its delivery and wraps up the group’s strongest work to date in excellent fashion.
Ever heard the phrase never judge a book by its cover? Of course you have, and hopefully you transfer those thoughts to music albums. If you don’t, Amber Pacific’s latest will be standard, boring, plain and bland. But after listening to it some heartfelt vocals and lyrical topics, drastically improved guitar work, present low end on the bass, enjoyable drum fills, and even a handful on string sections all make up an overall consistent and energetic record with some pleasant surprises to be revealed. Needless to say, I think that’s enough to make up for its five minute cover design. Truth In Sincerity
has enough charm and honesty to be believable and stand strong with its intended meaning. It also has enough hooks to get stuck in your head after a listen and enough musical depth to keep you coming back for more. Despite being far from revolutionizing the genre, Amber Pacific packs loads of emotion and entertainment into their second full length album. It is one that should not go unnoticed by fans of the band/genre and one that should even be at least listened to by those who previously doubted the group. The band certainly deserves to rise to new heights in the months to come as Truth In Sincerity
marks their strongest work to date and is the perfect showcase of both their improvement and maturity.
Amber Pacific is…
Matt Young – Vocals
William Nutter – Guitar and piano
Greg Strong – Bass guitar
Dango – Drums
Final Rating: 4/5