Just Surrender
Phoenix


2.5
average

Review

by J. Ponton EMERITUS
June 25th, 2010 | 36 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Not surrendering just yet

Even when Just Surrender were considered fresh in 2005, their most redeeming quality, a two-way vocal split with singers Jason Maffuci and Dan Simons, was arguably just a swindling of Taking Back Sunday’s own Adam Lazzara and John Nolan’s switch/layering singing techniques - albeit being incorporated better than most post-hardcore/pop-punk bands on average. That withstanding, Just Surrender have always been known to be just another band to keep the sub-genre up and running, custom designed with the positives and the negatives that seem to prerequisite this type of scene: catchy on occasion, awful lyrics, and a lack of progression from release to release. This year’s Phoenix continues the stereotype.

When we last left off with Just Surrender, 2007’s We’re In Like Sin, the band were too busy trying to make a more definitive name for themselves, as far as radio play goes, rather than doing something interesting or noteworthy. But as you might have guessed, things didn’t turn out so well. The band’s hooks seemed watered-down and lazy, and, well, with cover art that embodied the video for Avenged Sevenfold’s “Beast and the Harlot”, Just Surrender certainly had a hard time being taken seriously. With this in mind, expectations for their third full-length, Phoenix, are not exactly staggering to say the least - though you'll find that this actually works to Just Surrender’s advantage, in a sense: you will be pleasantly caught off guard with the strengths of some of the hooks in the songs.

Make no mistake, though; Just Surrender haven’t rewritten their poppy-emo formula, but they have tightened up a little bit. “Through The Night” starts Phoenix out on a strong note, Maffuci wearing a pure-rock guise while Dan Simons comes into the double-chorus with finesse and grace, the duo putting on the best performance of their careers. Unfortunately, the album doesn’t quite keep up with the opener, though, and such cringe-worthy lyrical garbage as “Crazy” and “Burning Up” float by and detail a band that still just cannot pen any noteworthy or at least middle-of-the-road quality lyrical lines. Half of Phoenix runs its course until something noteworthy comes up again, “Stronger Now”. The song has an aggressive attitude that’s appropriate given each singer’s hard-pressed performance and Simons and Jolly Ubriaco interesting, if not complex guitar work.

“Lose Control” and “Better to Leave” continue Just Surrender’s mildly rough approach that “Stronger Now” started out on – but then we hit acoustic number “Carried Away”, a bump in the road so sudden that it’s able to completely send us off the edge. Saccharine in a word, faux-romantic in another, the song embodies poorly-played acoustic sentiment with an expected-at-this-point weak set of lyrics and low-produced strings in the background, meant to add emotional context but just pile more dirt onto the song’s overall poor standings. Fortunately, the band don’t let Phoenix end on a God-awful note, however, as “Jukebox Memoires” ends off the album in a summer-suited, runaway-together pop-punk fashion, cleverly avoiding the routine of ending a set of songs with an acoustic cut – and a very weak one at that.

With Phoenix, this New York quintet are doing everything in their power to appease their fans and just stay alive in their marketing niche - that’s about it. Fortunately, Just Surrender are no longer trying to shoot for the top of the charts, though, as evidenced by their music and even a recent interview; and you’ll be generally surprised at some of the songs’ choruses to be found here, going into the album without expecting much beforehand. That being said, there are still a lot of cringe-worthy moments that the band just have to smooth out, most notably an overall general inconsistency of song quality and poor lyrical lines throughout the whole of the album. Because of this, the majority of Phoenix further prooves that Just Surrender are still suffering from the post-hardcore/pop-punk stereotype that's plagued them for much of their career. Stuck in a hole, this time Just Surrender aren't shooting for the radio charts - they're just trying to stay alive as a band.



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user ratings (22)
Chart.
2.5
average

Comments:Add a Comment 
Ponton
Emeritus
June 25th 2010


5820 Comments


Out last Tuesday, but here's a stream

http://music.aol.com/new-releases-full-cds/#/8

Digging: Gates - Bloom and Breathe

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
June 25th 2010


8393 Comments


Thought it would be appropriate of me to read something of yours, since I haven't done so in a while. Good stuff as always man, props for continuously being one of the best writers on the site

Willie
Moderator
June 25th 2010


16149 Comments


Bummer. I really liked If These Streets Could Talk.

Digging: Mors Principium Est - Dawn Of The 5th Era

bloc
June 25th 2010


35024 Comments


Front cover looks so pretty

Ponton
Emeritus
June 25th 2010


5820 Comments


Thanks styles, though ill always disagree with you on that ;)

Willie, give the opening song a try. It's one of the band's best imo.

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
June 25th 2010


8393 Comments


Also, I just browsed RRR today for reasons unknown and now I know what you look like (while I myself will quietly remain a shady figure hahaha)

Ponton
Emeritus
June 25th 2010


5820 Comments


They still have me in the staff section? haha. You could have just facebook googled me though



DoubtGin
June 25th 2010


6754 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

the third paragraph mentions the song "Carry Me Home"; you either mean "Take Me Home" or "Carried Away" I guess

other than that.. great review, thus pos'd

Ponton
Emeritus
June 25th 2010


5820 Comments


Thanks Doubtgin for reading it. I was actually referring to "Burning Up" there.. so I'm not sure why I combined those two songs by accident

Romulus
June 25th 2010


8447 Comments


Am I a terrible speller or did this band really spell Phoenix wrong?

Ponton
Emeritus
June 25th 2010


5820 Comments


haha, no it was put in the system wrong.

AggravatedYeti
June 25th 2010


7685 Comments


meh album streak eh?

good stuff as usual
no idea who this band is and in no rush to I guess.

Ponton
Emeritus
June 25th 2010


5820 Comments


As far as new releases go, yeah, seems to be

though I did a review for caribou/manitoba's up in flames album recently that I'm pretty sure you would love yeti. Give it a shot, if you haven't already

AggravatedYeti
June 25th 2010


7685 Comments


I've just recently been digging Caribou hard, sounds like a plan.

atrink
Contributing Reviewer
June 25th 2010


2845 Comments


For some reason I thought this was comig out in august and I was gunna be the first to review it lol

But good review anyway. I was hopeing this was gunna be a comback of sorts

EVedder27
June 25th 2010


6088 Comments


Nice work Jared, would've like the summary to be something like "maybe they should just surrender," but this one is good too

astrel
June 25th 2010


2614 Comments


I really like the album art.

Ponton
Emeritus
June 25th 2010


5820 Comments


Nice work Jared, would've like the summary to be something like "maybe they should just surrender," but this one is good too


Thanks, Mike, and was thinking about it but figured id be a little more hopeful since its just a 2.5

EVedder27
June 25th 2010


6088 Comments


yeah true, sometimes funnier isn't always as accurate

Bitchfork
June 25th 2010


7584 Comments


Also, I just browsed RRR today for reasons unknown and now I know what you look like (while I myself will quietly remain a shady figure hahaha)


Yes and still my pic has not arisen on the staff page.



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