Review Summary: Our Last Night has improved greatly since this release, but it's also very impressive to see where they have evolved from.
First impressions are a very big deal. No matter how young or old, mature or immature, your first impression can make everything. With Our Last Night's second release, 'Building Cities From Scratch', we find a very young post-hardcore band slowly showing what they can be. The album was enjoyed so much that it happened to catch the attention of Epitaph records, who signed the band shortly after the release of this album. Looking back at this compared to their newest release, 'We Will All Evolve', the band has grown and come such a long way. At the same time though, 'Building Cities From Scratch' is very impressive. It certainly isn't up the standards of modern day post-hardcore, but it's enjoyable and certainly well done.
We all know post-hardcore as such a bland genre. It's overdone and clichéd, so who would want to listen to it? Our Last Night is a band that steps up past most bands in the genre. It's a breath of fresh air when listening to 'Building Cities From Scratch'. Though you really can't find anything new or original here, the band just does such a great job in their genre. 'Blankets of Bullets' is the opening track to the album, and it shows just what the band can do. Trevor Wentworth, the band's screaming vocalist, is probably the weakest thing about this album. His screams have progressively gotten better from album to album, but at his earliest point he had a very weak voice. His brother though, guitarist and clean vocalist, Matt Wentworth, shows potential in his vocals.
'Blankets of Bullets' has a very catchy chorus, the strong point of the song. The song sounds no different than the majority of other screamo songs you've ever heard, but as a start to the album it works. 'The Capture and the Captor' begins with a soft piano track and tiny guitar solo in the background, but this is all tossed out the window once the song gets going. Both the guitar players do a solid job at being different with each and every guitar riff. The songs features great guitar work and overall, it's just a very technical song at some parts. "Ladies and gentlemen/This is where we present the next scene/No the set hasn't changed/The curtain has just closed for a while" is one of my favorite lyrical lines in the entire album. Matt as a songwriter isn't as good as his voice, most of his lyrics are just average.
There are moments though where his lyrics really get to me. 'Part II' is my favorite track on the album, and from not just an instrumental stand point, but from a lyrical one as well. "Don't worry I'm not mad/things turned out just fine/but while were on the subject of wrecking/I'll sign the papers to finish this", it's a song about loss, simply put. Our Last Night are one of those rare bands that doesn't overdose every one of their songs with breakdowns. When you do hear one, it stands out and fits, not just thrown in because they haven't played one in a while. 'The Truth We Can't Handle' is another very well done track on this album. Matt surprises me with the chords he plays while singing his choruses. It's got to be complicated to play an instrument and keep a good voice at the same time. The only real problem with Matt is that he never gets the chance to really flex his vocals to much.
He has so much potential as a singer and he never gets to really show what he can do in this album. In the song 'The Waiting Room', the band slows down the pace a tiny bit to create a smoother, easier track to listen to. The vocals stand out a lot here, it might be the pace of the song or something but Matt's voice sounds a little smoother and in particular parts, Trevor's screams sound, well, good. This song does especially a good job in changing the pace midway through. Drummer Joey Perricone, unfortunately, has no moments to really show what he could do. He plays very basic and simply beats that never really seem to catch the ear. 'Beginnings' is probably the hardest track on the album. It's good to go out with a bang, and this song really ends the album hard and exciting.
Our Last Night has evolved a lot since this release, all the vocals have improved drastically and the band as a whole has just improved so much. To go back and listen to this album though certainly lets you admire the band. To be as young as they were and create an album like this is very impressive, and this band always has impressed since then. If your a fan of their newer stuff, check out this album. It's very good actually, quite a surprise.