The Blackout
The Best in Town


4.5
superb

Review

by Davey Boy STAFF
August 1st, 2009 | 166 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Dear LostProphets & Funeral For A Friend… We invite you to support us on our upcoming tour.

2009 is a year in which we will hear new albums from many of post-hardcore’s heavyweights. North American bands Thrice, Thursday, Alexisonfire, Emery and Silverstein have all released well-received LPs, but could they be upstaged by six Welsh youngsters? Those who have heard The Blackout’s debut full-length release ‘We Are The Dynamite’ will think not, but it may pay to think again. And to the naysayers, The Blackout have a one-word message to pass on: ShutTheF*ckUppercut.

Bursting into your ears with an energetic in-your-face approach, the fantastically titled opener (‘ShutTheF*ckUppercut’, if you hadn’t realized) harks back to the raw heaviness of the band’s promising 2006 EP. Overall, ‘The Best In Town’ is indeed a heavier album than ‘We Are The Dynamite’ and is all the better for it. Look no further than the thick crunching riffs & menacing screams of ‘The Fire’ and closer ‘We’re Going To Hell… So Bring The Sunblock’ for other examples. Yet, it is the way in which The Blackout have now been able to combine that heaviness with their catchy melodies that is the undeniable secret to this album’s success.

If the opener was the wake-up call, then the following ‘Save Our Selves (The Warning)’ is what will actually get you out of bed. A body-mover of epic proportions, there are so many hooks tightly packed into its modest running time that it is practically impossible to ignore. Especially memorable for its magnificent chorus – where the masses won’t know whether to sing along to the anthemic “This is the blackout” line, or the simultaneous background “woh wohs” that just might be the best ever put to record – this should be the cut which breaks the band worldwide. Later, with the help of Josh Franceschi from You Me At Six, the quality is almost matched with penultimate track ‘This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things’.

Maybe the most pleasing aspect of ‘The Best In Town’ is the way in which The Blackout have progressed in almost every facet of their craft. It is clear that the band have analyzed their previous releases and learnt from their findings. For instance, the dual vocal dynamic (Gavin Butler’s clean vocals and Sean Smith’s screams) still exists when it should, but instead of forcing screams like on past occasions, Smith occasionally sings when the situation suits. Furthermore, there is an admirable maturation here that ranges from comparably stronger lyrics to more intricate musicianship. Hell, even the song titles hit the mark better, with the Nirvana mocking ‘I Love Myself and I Wanna Live’ extracting a chuckle from yours truly.

There is one instance however where The Blackout do not progress and instead err on the side of accessibility. That occurs on token ballad ‘Silent When We Speak’, which veers dangerously towards Hoobastank territory. Its ill-fitting radio-rock sound is especially disappointing when one considers the effectiveness of the moody closer from this album’s predecessor. It is not all that bad though and the missed step can be forgiven since there is hardly a filler track elsewhere. From the anthemic and silky smooth ‘Top Of The World’ & ‘Said And Done’ to the children-accompanied lead single ‘Children Of The Night’, ‘The Best In Town’ impresses for the entirety of its 34 minute duration.

For the sake of clarity, The Blackout are not looking to push the boundaries of post-hardcore a’la recent efforts from Thrice and Thursday. What they have done here on ‘The Best In Town’ is simply perform the genre better than the majority of their peers. Their brand of melodic and accessible post-hardcore is immensely enjoyable and crowd-pleasing. So much so that it places The Blackout near the top of the post-hardcore pack. The ball is now in LostProphet’s court for Welsh rock supremacy, because right now it is The Blackout that are indeed “The Best In Town”!

Recommended Tracks: Save Our Selves (The Warning), This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things, ShutTheF*ckUppercut, Top Of The World & The Fire.



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user ratings (138)
Chart.
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
August 1st 2009


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

For disclosure’s sake, this is probably one of those albums where many reviewers would rate the review 0.5 lower on the review in comparison to their personal rating. But I don’t do that $hit, so 4.5 it is!

klap
Staff Reviewer
August 1st 2009


10510 Comments


just broke up with my girlfriend, am extremely durnk on cheap american whiskey, saw a daveyboye review to make me better awesome as wlayas. will include closer ciritlcal analysis at a later date. davey i love you you austyralian fook

Digging: Caribou - Our Love

Douglas
August 1st 2009


9125 Comments


Where is the album art?

Good review.

Klap4musik... I think bed is a good idea!

Douglas
August 1st 2009


9125 Comments


Ah, as soon I comment it appears!

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
August 1st 2009


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Not good Rudy. Especially the bit about the "cheap" American whiskey. Go for the good stuff. I'll tkae your positive feedback on board cautiously at present.

Guess what? I think you might like this album.

klap
Staff Reviewer
August 1st 2009


10510 Comments


seagram's is never bad. fact - anyways davey, you should never take my positive feedback cautiously - you are an awesome writer FACT - anyways, yeayh, i should check this out. whats hyour opinion if i liked thrice's alchemy index 3/4 but not too muchof their earlier stuff

Knott-
Emeritus
August 1st 2009


10198 Comments


I think it sounds like I would like this but I'm too busy with all my pop-rock catchy melody piano bouncy nate ruessy kinda things at the moment.

But it's on my list!!!!!!

Great review pos.

klap
Staff Reviewer
August 1st 2009


10510 Comments


strikey - have i told you i love you? let's listen to t-swizzle and relax

Knott-
Emeritus
August 1st 2009


10198 Comments


not lately, darling

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
August 1st 2009


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Yeah Dougie, I wasn't the person who added the album to the database. So as far as I know, I had to post the review first & then add the album art. Oh & let's just say this album art is a huge step down on their previous album's cover. Haha. I should have squeezed that into the review.

Rudy, I just think you will appreciate the true greatness of this review when you can see clearer! LOL!

As for Thrice's Alchemy Index, many people liked separate parts of that so it's not a good guide. Plus, those album(s) weren't exactly post-hardcore. In answer to your question though, The Blackout is nothing like that side of Thrice. This is sort of more (for want of a better word) the poppy side of post-hardcore.

klap
Staff Reviewer
August 1st 2009


10510 Comments


haha very true davey. it's difficult for me to ready more than 3 paragraphs. thanks for the alchemy rec - this soubds more appealing to me somehow

Douglas
August 1st 2009


9125 Comments


Oh, I see.
This looks worth checking out also.

Knott-
Emeritus
August 1st 2009


10198 Comments


Yeah was just going to note that Thrice's new album is absolutely nowhere near post-hardcore. Nor were Alch 3/4. My guess is this sounds closest to Fightstar with a bit more technicality and a slightly rougher edge.

klap
Staff Reviewer
August 1st 2009


10510 Comments


yeah, the only thrice i liek is air and earth. and taylor swift duets

Knott-
Emeritus
August 1st 2009


10198 Comments


I would pay thousands of pounds to witness a Thrice song ft. Taylor Swift.

klap
Staff Reviewer
August 1st 2009


10510 Comments


hahahahahaha pounds. too british but agreed

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
August 1st 2009


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Enough of the man-man love in my reviews! Haha.

Adam, it sounds like your list is now longer than mine. I'm surprised you haven't heard of these guys. Come on, Wales isn't that far from you. As for comparisons here, without having heard Fightstar, it's tough to tell, but I think so.

People looking for technicality here will probably think I'm over-stating it, but it is there. Different songs fall into different categories obviously. The rougher ones are fairly harsh (not too dissimilar to Emery), while the poppier songs should definitely get airplay (think Lostprophets' more accessible tracks).

If anyone wants a snapshot of the album, just listen to the first 2 tracks. Sums it up perfectly.

Dougie, I haven't totally nailed down your musical tastes to determine whether or not you would really like this.

klap
Staff Reviewer
August 1st 2009


10510 Comments


fuck strikey is british? my illusions are shattered

MassiveAttack
August 1st 2009


2688 Comments


ugh seagram is so disgusting

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
August 1st 2009


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

He's British... & probably doesn't have thousands of pounds!



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