Review Summary: Though far from a perfect album, Adelphia is a marked improvement over the ho-hum and generic release Wires... And The Concept Of Breathing.3 of 5 thought this review was well written
Adelphia, the third release from Lodi, CA based 6-Piece outfit A Skylit Drive, is by no means an original record, but the band does what it sets out to do and they do it relatively well. Blending in with the general pop-punk-screamo-whatever-core of today's music is something most artists tend to fall victim to. ASD bring their own brand of angst-ridden vocals, "brutal" screams, and crunching guitar riffs to the table. Sound familiar? It is, almost every second of it, but that isn't to say that its not an enjoyable listen. As someone who first forayed into the relative genre with underOATH's They're Only Chasing Safety way back when, this style of music is something i hold dear to my heart, so maybe i was pre-conditioned to like this album more so than i should have.
Adelphia picks up where Wires left off, but instead of being a straight continuation of the boring formula implemented on that album of scream, sing, scream, the music is refined a bit more and the vocals remarkably improved. Frontman Mike Jagmin really takes the performance here with his clean singing, which is something i don't normally say. By using varied methods of delivery ranging from whispers to spoken word to soaring singing, he keeps the listener entertained enough to not switch to another CD midway through the album.
Brian White takes up the screaming part of the vocals, and does so with an air of command that Wires lacked so much. His effort has developed from whiny and high pitched to a more impressive and full scream. For evidence of this, simply listen to the tracks "Children Of Adelphia" and "Eva The Carrier."
As opposed to Wires, the momentum is kept up throughout this release, starting with "Prelude To A Dream," which to any fans of their previous efforts, will strike them as a definite improvement in all areas, especially the screams and clean vocals. The momentum slows a small bit with "Those Cannons Could Sink A Ship" which incorporates almost exclusively clean vocals layered over chugging guitars. "Heaven" and "Running With The Light" go by as generic tracks without many highlights and sort of blend into the rest of the CD. "Eva The Carrier" brings the tempo back up and is infectiously catchy and features some of the best placed and most well done screams on the album. The chorus is something you can sing along to, and it has a good blend of vocals, making it the best song on the album, followed by "The Children Of Adelphia." The next two tracks following a short interlude are standard ASD fare, and are neither good nor bad. "Air The Enlightenment" follows and is an acoustic piece featuring piano and a subtle drum beat in the background. Its mellow nature gives the listener a break for what follows, one of the album's highlight tracks, "The Children Of Adelphia." If ASD could craft all their songs along these lines, they'd be set for success. It has good screams that are places in just the right spots, and fantastic vocal work from Jagmin. It is followed by two more-of-the-same stuff that is found between "Eva The Carrier" and "Air The Enlightenment." "See You Around" is a good enough track, but it doesn't feel like an album closer, leaving the listener with a sense of missing something.
For all of the praise i have sung on this release, it is certainly plagued by the one major issue of being unoriginal in almost every way. A respectable album, but not very focused, which is to be expected considering that Wires was released only about a year ago. But for the short time-frame between albums, A Skylit Drive has matured more than i had expected and put out a decent CD.