Review Summary: Subpar pop rock that ticks all the boxes, but quite simply consists of very poor songs.
There is an age old proverb, turned cliché, which reads, “Honesty is always the best policy.” In the spirit of this some straight talking is in order. Hidden in Plain View are very, very generic. They are cookie cutter pop punk, nothing more, nothing less. I know it, you know it and judging by their recent split citing “Musical differences,” chances are even they knew it. There are countless bands doing what they do; Valencia, Cartel, Spitalfield
, The Starting Line
and so on. That being said there is a difference between doing an overdone sound well and doing it badly. Hidden in Plain View are arguably the former (although it increasingly feels like the latter) and in a genre notorious for its lack of innovation or any kind of experimentation (save for Brand New
and Gatsby’s American Dream
) they are just barely a stand out act. The name of the game is very simple for Hidden in Plain View; they write upbeat and infectious tunes with enough bite to worry your Grandma but not nearly enough to offend your Mother.
Their debut full length was split right down the middle. It represented a homogenous slice of melodic pop rock which sometimes had the songs to merit a listen and other times was simply so trite it became near unlistenable. In classic style for this genre, the band has shown almost no progression whatsoever and like much of their competition the band have decided that rather than attempt any musical progression they will simply spend more money on production to patch up any cracks in song writing. It seems unfair however to judge pop music on a lack of substance because after all pop music is not about how many pipe organ solo’s a band has it is about one thing alone and that is hooks. Hidden in Plain View have them, of that there is no doubt but in an over saturated market there are other bands, notably label mates The Starting Line
, who have bigger choruses and better haircuts.
“Resolution” is for the most part tediously dull, which is the cardinal sin of any pop rock music. This could easily be attributed to the bands break up, whilst making the album, but in all honesty the signs were already there from “Life in Dreaming.” Take that album’s sound and mix it with very lacklustre and frankly lazy song writing and you have good cause for not shedding many tears at the band’s passing. Opening single “Bendy” should surely be the pinnacle of what Resolution has to offer but it is quite simply a bad song. A tasteless and ill conceived faux metal lead runs into the genres benchmark, a good bit of palm muting. When all else fails why not try some palm muted verses and open power chord choruses? To quote Jesse Lacey (of the Brand New fame) I say, “Deja Entendu.”
Vocally the interplay between the two vocalists (yes they are one of those bands) tends to fall flat due to the fact, that both vocalists sound incredibly similar, and where as Taking Back Sunday’s interplay is one of contrasting styles and different approaches, this is nothing of the sought. In terms of lyrics it all the same stuff everyone is by now accustomed to, “Alone in this forever got to get back and get it together, cause you're never gonna get anywhere this way,”
regardless of subject the band spent two years making Resolution and that was the best they came up with. It boggles the mind.
There was a time when Hidden In Plain View actually offered at least a unique twist on a tried and tested formula, their EP was both solid and promising, songs like “Shaman’s Witches Magic” promised much but in their six year career nothing has lived up to such promise. It is probably for the best that the band has moved onto alternative musical endeavours. Drive Thru went for the summer release on this one, but with a lack of touring and the labels dwindling influence and distribution, this will soon be buried in pop rock history.