Review Summary: Switchfoot slightly digress, and create an album full of piano driven pop rock.. what? This isn't Switchfoot?
With today’s pop music, finding a decent band is much like looking for a pet in a ***ty animal shelter. All of the animals are pretty terrible, whether it is their looks, behavior, or the fact that they keep pissing on your leg, but if you lower your standards on what you consider to be “good” or even, sometimes, just redefine in the word all together, you can almost always find a dog that is reasonable. Not to say the mutt is amazing, or even good compared to the perfectly bred pet store kind, but its cute bark puts it ahead of the other puppies of choice, even if it does rubs it’s ass on the carpet.
Ok, so that metaphor didn’t quite work for you? I’ll try to put it into easier terms; pop rock, within the last five years, generally speaking, has been a skid in the road of musical evolution. Hundreds, or even thousands (I’ve lost track) of these happy-go-lucky teens use the three cords they know to make a fun loving sound that has been done death, but is sure to be loved by the mass populous of teens thus feeding the cycle. A handful of these typical bands get attention with a catchy single then quickly fade, and then there’s the very few (with the cute lead singer) that stick. Every so often there is a release that garners hype for their actual talent; an example is Between The Trees’ debut The Story and The Song
. Not to say I’m ignorant enough to know that their sound wasn’t marketable, nor am I saying that the lead singer isn’t an absolute babe, instead, with The Story.. they proved they had enough skill and passion not to have to rely on youthful aesthetic and poppy hooks alone.
Now we have Spain
, the band’s follow up to their critically acclaimed debut, and I am disappointed to say that have not completely avoided the sophomore slump that plagues so many bands of the genre. Not to say that Spain
is necessarily terrible, it’s just that with this release they seem to have lost a lot of their colour. It’s the classic case of a band attempting to mature, but instead just come off sounding pretty uninspired and boring. This record is basically Between The Trees’ attempt to break away from the “pop punk” scene and establish themselves as a respected alternative pop rock band, but unconsciously become Switchfoot
Like stated before, they are very capable musicians, and it shows throughout the record. While, like also noted before, Between The Trees aren’t the most original band out there, they do have a very solid knack for writing a good pop song will throwing in little guitar solos and other goodies that fit without taking away from the melody. A notable fact is also Ryan Kirkland’s voice. If you heard The Story And The Song
you know he has quite a bit of talent when it comes to his vocal ability and when he doesn’t attempt to impersonate John Foreman
, like on the single and the album’s best track, We Can Try
, improvement is easy to see. It also should be stated that between this and their debut they dropped from a five piece to a trio the most noticeable lose is the keyboard, thus, the whole electronic factor of The Story.. is no longer existed. This creates a much more traditional sound, which I think is a positive.
So is this good or not? I guess it’s really how you look at it. If you’re looking for something progressive, experimental and fresh, then this isn’t the album for you. Nor is Spain
going to fulfill your need for a pop rock classic. But if you’re looking for some decent, easy listening, piano driven rock, then give Between The Tree’s sophomore record Spain
a listen. ‘Cause it might not be the freshest dog at the animal shelter, but it doesn’t piss on your leg, and it’s pretty cute. Metaphor still not working for you? Damn.