Streetlight Manifesto
Somewhere in the Between


4.5
superb

Review

by Jom STAFF
November 12th, 2007 | 841 replies | 66,251 views


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Everything you'd expect to find on this album, from Kalnoky's anthemic lyrical essays to a sensational brass and woodwind section, is here. A perfect complement to 2003's 'Everything Goes Numb.'

After arguably releasing the best third-wave ska album ever with 2003's Everything Goes Numb, it's likely been an agonizing four years for Streetlight Manifesto fans. While last year's revisitation of the legendary Keasbey Nights by Catch 22 did offer new Streetlight, the slight musical and lyrical deviations found in the group's re-recording did little to whet one's appetite for new Streetlight tunes. Then, beginning in August 2007, the teasers started to roll in. First, the follow-up's title - Somewhere in the Between - was announced. A week later, three song samples appeared on the band's official website, which were in turn followed up by two more song samples and, eventually, two full-length tracks appeared on a split with colleagues Voodoo Glow Skulls and a third full-length song found its place on a Victory Records sampler.

Now, after whipping themselves into a frenzy, fans finally have their long sought-after follow-up in Somewhere in the Between. But, rampant speculation and key questions remain: is Tomas Kalnoky still a brilliant lyricist and songwriting genius? Is the instrumentation still solid? Does this album stand out and stand on its own merits, or is this album simply an Everything Goes Numb, Part II, an unfortunate case of a sophomore slump, where it is completely overshadowed by its predecessor?

The final verdict: Somewhere in the Between firmly stands on its own as a beautiful complement to Everything Goes Numb for two key reasons. First, Kalnoky's unwavering magnetism both lyrically and instrumentally is yet again one of the most appealing aspects of the album. Second, the instrumentation - especially the brass and woodwinds - is unquestionably magnificent and richer than what's heard on the group's debut.

Streetlight's instrumentation is typically spellbinding, but the horns and saxophones on Somewhere in the Between are markedly vibrant and expressive throughout the entire album. Mike Brown (alto and baritone sax), Jim Conti (alto and tenor sax), Mike Soprano (trombone), and Matt Stewart (trumpet) absolutely shine on Somewhere in the Between, and this is exemplified right from the album's onset with We Will Fall Together. Opening with near-celebratory fanfare and kicking off the album on an extremely captivating note, the four musicians alternate sharing the featured spotlight... all within the first minute of the album. Collectively, their embouchures are unbelievable. The dueling saxophone section that precedes an accelerated bass solo from Pete McCullaugh at the song's bridge is one of the manifold album highlights from an instrumental standpoint.

To individually point out each spectacular trumpet, trombone, and/or saxophone feature found on Somewhere in the Between would lead to this review being longer than the average Tomas Kalnoky lyric sheet. As anticipated and as expected, Kalnoky remains true to form with his dissertations-for-lyrics style of storytelling. Tracks like One Foot On The Gas, One Foot In The Grave and Watch It Crash are two such instances, but pale in comparison to the anthemic Down, Down, Down to Mephisto's Cafe or the animated The Receiving End of It All. In "Mephisto's," Kalnoky claims, "So fuck the flocks of sheep that keep amassing masses / Asses being led so far astray / And I won't claim to believe the things I read / Black books or agenda magazine / I'd rather see in shades of grey" and offers engaging lines such as, "Don't crack, because you might not make it back - and if you do, you will be alone and you can't live like that / Well, I know when I'm wrong and I sure as hell ain't wrong this time." Essentially, Down, Down, Down to Mephisto's Cafe may represent the quintessential Something in the Between track: sporting rapid-fire guitars, machine-gun-delivery vocals, and a decorated brass section, the track serves as both a throwback to Everything Goes Numb-style Streetlight as well as representing the ever-evolving Streetlight sound found on the follow-up.

Another extremely appealing aspect to the album is Kalnoky's allusions to Everything Goes Numb with shared lyrics between the two albums. For example, The Receiving End of It All contains the lyric, "And we sang: 'Yeah, that's just the way that it goes,'" which brings to mind a similar statement uttered in Point/Counterpoint. Whether this was a conscious decision by Kalnoky or not may not be worth exploring, but his nuances and mannerisms vocally and instrumentally throughout the album are as unyielding as ever. Again, the Streetlight frontman's imagery in his lyrics is truly noteworthy, and his tackling of abstract ideas such as faith and religion ("Did you lose faith? Yes, I lost faith in the powers that be / But in doing so, I came across the will to disagree / And I gave up, yes, I gave up and then I gave in / But I take responsibility for every single sin," as heard in The Blonde Lead the Blind; "What a way to begin: we inherit sin / And nobody's going to quench your thirst when the well runs dry / And nobody's going to hold your hand on the day you die," taken from Forty Days) to Kalnoky's familiar love-your-life philosophy ("So you were born, and that was a good day / Someday you'll die and that is a shame / But somewhere in the between was a life of which we all dream / And nothing and no one will ever take that away," from the title track, which has some tremendous back-up vocals) makes for an enthralling and captivating listen, provided the listener can catch up with his swift vocal delivery.

Somewhere in the Between is a magnificent album that will undoubtedly please Streetlight Manifesto fans new and old, but another album strength lies within its accessibility. For good reason, Streetlight Manifesto oftentimes serves as an introductory band into the third-wave ska genre, and it's obvious as to why this is so. A first-time listener or a lifelong Streetlight fan could pick this up and get more than just something out of this record. Everything you'd expect to find on this album, from Kalnoky's anthemic lyrical essays and lightning-fast chord progressions, to Chris Thatcher's strong, assured drumming, to a sensational brass and woodwind section, is found on this album without a doubt. Somewhere in the Between has an enormous number of highlights, but the trumpet, trombone, and saxophone instrumentation is superior to what's heard on Everything Goes Numb. Sure, Somewhere in the Between has a couple clunky passages, but this is to be expected in a ten-track album that spans about three-quarters of an hour. All told, this album serves as a perfect complement to Everything Goes Numb, and while the expected Streetlight elements are found here and are as stellar as ever, the brass and woodwind section is arguably the biggest reason why Somewhere in the Between is essential listening.

A

Jom recommends:

The Receiving End of It All (an essential must-listen!)
We Will Fall Together
Down, Down, Down to Mephisto's Cafe
What a Wicked Gang Are We
The Blonde Lead the Blind
Somewhere in the Between



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user ratings (1009)
Chart.
4.2
excellent
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Jim
November 12th 2007



5110 Comments


jesus jom awesome review
p.s bring rocko back >: (

Tyler
Emeritus
November 12th 2007



7924 Comments


Now I can't wait to purchase this compact disc.

plane
Staff Reviewer
November 12th 2007



6073 Comments


I still haven't heard anything from these guys, but I'll definitely check this out now that I've read your review. Great work, Jom.

Jom
Staff Reviewer
November 12th 2007



2596 Comments


Three tracks are streaming for their other album (unless they're not working anymore for whatever reason) if you're interested.

Jim
November 12th 2007



5110 Comments


XD!!

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
November 12th 2007



3752 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Wonderful review, pretty much agree with everything and it's nice that you're giving some well deserved love to the lyrics. Another damn fine one from SM - my only quibble being that the drums might have been put a tad higher up in the mix.

Digging: Labyrinth Ear - The Orchid Room

Pizza
November 12th 2007



687 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

excellent review, this album is amazing

JumpTheF**kUp
November 12th 2007



2708 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5


I had a review for this but I don't think I'll bother submitting it now.
Obviously great review, incredible album.

Tyler
Emeritus
November 12th 2007



7924 Comments


At first, I was all, "whoa did Jom finally put his real name?" and then I was all, "oh ".

SynGates
November 12th 2007



2467 Comments


Great review and I agree. One of the best of '07 for sure.

Tyler
Emeritus
November 12th 2007



7924 Comments


I love how people are making such claims when it's not even officially released yet. Oh, the internet-era.
/is still holding out against a leak.
/cant believe it either

Zebra
Moderator
November 12th 2007



2647 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I can't wait to listen to this. Everything Went Numb was fantastic on all accounts, hopefully Somewhere in the Between can match its excellence.

IsItLuck?
Emeritus
November 12th 2007



4925 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I love how people are making such claims when it's not even officially released yet. Oh, the internet-era.

/is still holding out against a leak.

/cant believe it either

My friends went to their show Friday night and I asked them to get me a CD, which was available for purchase. So it technically is officially release to kids in the New Jersey area who went to that show :p
It's really good.

JordanS
November 12th 2007



319 Comments


This CD absolutely destroys. The instrumentation has been taken up so many levels, I love the solo at the end of "What A Wicked Gang".

At first impressions, I like this more than Everything Went Numb.

IsItLuck?
Emeritus
November 12th 2007



4925 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

the only problem I have with streetlight, is they are a little too safe sometimes with their music. But then again there are only so many ways you can go with a ska band..

Jom
Staff Reviewer
November 12th 2007



2596 Comments


I had a review for this but I don't think I'll bother submitting it now.

Why?
I am not a strong reviewer or writer. Part of it is intentional - there are some reviewers here who think using $64,000 words incessantly throughout their review is cool, or want to impress you with their knowledge of theory or whatever - but I don't think that that's serviceable.
I would prefer my reviews to be easy to read and digest so that anybody, from your kid sister to your grandpa, could read it and be interested. Maybe not so much in the music itself, but that they go coast-to-coast on the review and get through it and understand the writing and its contents. The goal is that after reading, they'll have a good idea of what the artist is like, what the album sounds like, and why the album is good or bad.
That said, I wouldn't worry too much. I feel that would be a bad idea if this was the only review of the album, even if your rating is congruent with mine. Obviously, I couldn't cover everything, but if you've already written a review, why wouldn't you want to submit it tomorrow? Don't waste your effort like that!

IsItLuck?
Emeritus
November 12th 2007



4925 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0


I am not a strong reviewer or writer. Part of it is intentional - there are some reviewers here who think using $64,000 words incessantly throughout their review is cool, or want to impress you with their knowledge of theory or whatever - but I don't think that that's serviceable.


you made my day not only with the money sign, but by saying this. thank you.

Catchthe22
November 12th 2007



95 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i will have to rate it a 4.5, based off its musicianship and creativity, but at the same time I think it is missing something.

iliketoplaydrums10111
November 12th 2007



128 Comments


I got this album a couple weeks ago

Simply amazing.

Doppelganger
November 12th 2007



3124 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This album is so good.



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