Review Summary: Cute is what they aimed for...and they missed.
On their full length debut, Sing It Loud show exactly how far the right person can get you in the music industry. The group quickly transitioned from being a local band in high school, to earning a spot on the Epitaph roster, to being on tour with We The Kings, all with much thanks owed to their hometown hero Justin Pierre. The Motion City Soundtrack frontman was impressed with their professionalism, especially considering their young age, and showed them to the aforementioned label. The five-piece signed after playing a mere seven shows. Despite their young age and definite lack of experience, they are almost onto something good; the key word being almost. The Minneapolis natives, however, fall short as they never come into their own and sparingly capitalize on their strengths. Come Around
suffers from this in a peculiar manner – considering the genre it falls into – as it is not as bad as it is boring.
As redundant as it is to state by now, Sing It Loud plays a style of music very close to Motion City Soundtrack. The record being produced by MCS’s lead guitarist Josh Cain further elicits the already present similarities. Its tracks dominantly consistent of a not so edgy, snyth-driven pop punk sound. But an obvious lack of originality does not cause the downfall of the album. Rather, the group lacks the necessary talent to craft this style of music and make it intriguing. Lead vocalist/guitarist Pat Brown has a feeble voice and addresses familiar lyrical topics with minimal talent, making songs drag on despite some adequate instrumentals. “Don’t Save Me” and “Give It Up” both feature some enjoyable, mellow key melodies but similar to plenty of the record, put far too much emphasis on vocals. Bland vocal melodies coupled with persistent one syllable rhymes make the songs tolerable but instantly forgettable.
The bulk of the record is plagued by this. Opener “I’ve Got A Feeling” features a groovy enough lead snyth melody, simple yet solid instrumentals and a nice power-pop chorus rhythm, but is brought down by a monotonous vocal pattern. With a genre as over-saturated as the one Sing It Loud is in, a powerful and distinguishable voice is a must. The group evidently got this memo and decided to tap into two resources in Pierre and Alex Gaskarth (All Time Low). The two let their voices shine in “We’re Not Afraid” and “Don’t Save Me,” respectfully. Despite the two guest vocalists only contributing a handful of lines, the improved vocal definition and timbre is instantly detected, upgrading the songs from generally dreary to moderately appealing. Even with the strengths of keyboardist Ben Peterson and drummer Christopher Lee, the two most talented members of the band, Brown fails to produce consistently exciting vocal material.
Throughout the record a reason for this becomes evident: the group fails to cash in on their strong points. Although Brown’s lyrics are constantly shoddy, his vocals can be compelling; as despite lacking a well-rounded voice, he can hold his own with faster and more upbeat music behind him. Even though Sing It Loud rarely displays this side of them, they are at their strongest when they do. Closing track “Best Beating Heart” brings a slightly bigger edge to the record and gives it a much needed shot of life, despite Brown’s whining and embarrassingly bad lyrics both being at their worst. Its silky smooth snyth melodies reach a high and the tune features a memorable albeit slightly annoying chorus. Hands down the record’s highlight is the title track. “Come Around” has the group reaching its peak with some much appreciated energy and sincerity, along with an undeniably catchy feel throughout. Brown’s singing excels with the fast tempos and open chords supporting it. Strangely enough, the young group seems oblivious that this style is their strong point, as they infrequently duplicate and capitalize on it.
Even with a solid number of weaknesses present on the record, Sing It Loud is a group that could very well evolve into something special. They are one of the younger bands on the scene and were undeniably inexperienced when they wrote Come Around
. With more tours under their belts and further individual and collective developments, they have the potential to blossom into a promising band. Until they are able to mature as songwriters, pinpoint their strengths and consistently utilize them, they will remain a dime-a-dozen band not worth spending a nickel on.