Review Summary: Surprisingly not as bad as you might think.
So here's a mildly entertaining story if you have the time for it: having spent the last couple months listening to critiques go on about how bad Attack Attack! are and having only seen (and laughed at) the videos for "Stick Stickly" I figured it was time to actually sit down and form my own opinion of the album as a cohesive unit. Roughly 30 seconds into "Bro, Ashley's Here" I suffered some form of vertigo, everything went blurry and i fell to my knees with tears in my eyes. The vocal talents of Johnny Franck came in as he croons "As I stare through these tears, I see your lips start to turn. This world is so un-perfect, This love is so un-worth it". I tried to pull myself back up to my knees... and threw up everywhere. Now you can either see this is a physical manifestation of my distaste for Attack Attack! or blame the not quite cooked mince I'd had the night before. Either way, I'm sure you've heard worse stories.
Now I want to make it clear that I am NOT a fan of Attack Attack! but one thought kept creeping up on me as i listened to "Someday Came Suddenly": this actually isn't the worst album ever.
The album opens with "Hot Grills, and High tops", a Brokencydesque screamo-hip-hop hybrid. At this early point I wasn't feeling particularly hopeful... I did consider giving up but ultimately resolved to delve further into the abyss.
It turns out that the vocal delivery of Austin Carlile is actually quite impressive. Although there is little variation in register his scream is reminiscent of Underoath circa "They're Only Chasing Safety". The lyrics aren't particularly interesting or even remotely memorable but they remain nonetheless clear and well delivered.
"Stick Stickly" sadly demonstrates the extent of the guitarists' combined talent. Now if you're willing to see past their raw (read: simple) fretwork then some of the breakdowns aren't actually too bad. The guitars rarely leave the "breakdown followed by power chords followed by breakdown" (ad infinitum) layout save for "What Happens If I Can't Check My Myspace When We Get There?". Here Attack Attack! treats us with a generic metalcore riff a la "Unholy Confessions", I find it hard to listen to this song without imagining Zacky Vengeance and Synyster Gates going red in the face.
The bass is essentially absent from this album, I'm not entirely sure why Holgado turned up to the recording to be honest, and the drums show very little signs of talent. The only moment where they are given a chance to shine is during "Stick Stickly" where a basic emulation of the breakdown to come is played.
The album does have certain highlights. The intro to "Party Foul" is a guilty pleasure of mine, essentially driven by the vocals I find it hard not to headbang to it slightly (more of a head-nod really). "The People's Elbow" is heavily reminiscent of the new Enter Shikari which isn't necessarily a bad thing. "Kickin' Wing, Animal Doctor" is probably the best written song on the album in that it doesn't follow the predictable pattern that the rest do and shows a certain degree of vocal variation along with some profession in time signature changes.
However, the album suffers from two main drawbacks: the ridiculous and misplaced use of synthesizers and the vocal tuning of Johnny Franck. Every now and then I feel myself being drawn into the songs against my will but then find myself immediately returning to reality as soon as the synthesizers and clean vocals come in. Its the equivalent of screaming death metal vocals in a Death Cab For Cutie song, they're completely misplaced and ill-advised. The album's interlude sounds like a parody of the European techno scene of the 90s, this isn't even the cheesy kind of techno that actually sounds ok when drunk. Think Crazy Frog meets Eiffel 65. Overall, the use of synthesizers ruins what could be perfectly average songs.
If you can see past the ridiculous song titles, the fact that they all look like clones of each other, that they have the musical talent of a hamster, the absolutely abysmal use of vocal tuning and synthesizers, the shameless "crabcore" stances and running on the spot then you might be able to enjoy at least a portion of this album. What can I say? I'm a sucker for breakdowns.