The Graduate
Only Every Time


4.5
superb

Review

by Davey Boy STAFF
August 30th, 2010 | 541 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: If this is a scene, then I’m goddamn impressed.

No matter how much one resists, passing judgment on music can wear a person down. It is often difficult not to look too microscopically at what you are rating and forget what the true purpose of the music is. Worse still, a form of elitism can infiltrate into the equation, leading to generalizations which are nothing but myth. You know the kind: Radio only plays crap, lead singles cannot be an album’s best track, and pop-punk was only good before it became popular. Another confounding notion is that anyone can write a catchy chorus. However, quality choruses are not as prevalent as one might think. Sure, one-hit wonders will always exist by fluking a contagious passage, but the fact that they struggle to replicate such success should be telling. Accomplished artists have the ability to write a handful of superior choruses per album (which will usually become singles), but then there are those rare albums that are so jam-packed with killer refrains, that it is easy to look past the minor indiscretions elsewhere…

Ladies and gentleman; the winner of the “Jimmy Eat World’s Bleed American” Award for 2010 is… (Insert drum-roll and dramatic pause here)… The Graduate, with their second full-length album ‘Only Every Time’.

In a musical age of layers and overdubs demanding multiple listens, seldom has an album as instantaneously infectious crossed this reviewer’s ears. If first impressions were the be all and end all, then ‘Only Every Time’ would race immediately to the top of the charts. Deserving much credit for this aural extravaganza is amazing opener ‘Don’t Die Digging’. As soon as the harmonized gang vocals of its chorus overcome one’s senses, it is obvious that “anthemic” is too light a word for this sublime cut. Importantly however, the same song also displays a technical edge which boosts its replay factor. The dual guitar attack of Matt Kennedy and Max Sauer slickly weave value-adding textures that may initially be missed simply because you will be having such a blast singing along to that glorious chorus.

Fans of the Illinoisan quintet’s debut LP ‘Anhedonia’ are sure to be impressed by its follow-up. While there is an almost comforting familiarity with song structure and track placement, the band has improved in practically every facet of their craft. Electronics are infused much subtler this time around, while question marks over Corey Warning’s lead vocals should be laid to rest since his moderately whiney inflection has all but disappeared. Warning handles gentler moments such as the aptly titled ‘Stuck (Inside My Head)’ and the heartfelt ‘Pull Me In’ especially impressively. Proof of the cohesion evident on ‘Only Every Time’, those two tracks are split by the riotously fun ‘Make Believe’, a track that brings the “woh wohs” and Jimmy Eat World would be proud to call their own. It is also a more mature The Graduate showcased here with a greater sense of ambition evident. On soaring closer ‘For The Missing’, they defy convention and record a sub-three minute epic.

The album is not all about atmosphere and catchiness though, with ‘All At Once’ recalling the band’s debut EP ‘Horror Show’ by storming out of the blocks to rock loudest. Even here however, some may take issue with the production of Brian McTernan. While this is clearly not the same pop-punk band that burst on to the scene in 2006, the man that was at the helm of Thrice’s ‘The Illusion of Safety’ and ‘The Artist in the Ambulance’, Senses Fail’s ‘Still Searching’ and Moneen’s ‘The Red Tree’ arguably polishes the final product up a little too slickly. This is especially apparent with the shimmering guitar effects that are utilized in a similar manner to McTernan’s work on Circa Survive’s ‘Juturna’ and ‘On Letting Go’. The ethereal ‘Permanent Tourists’ is the best example of this and while initially a positive, its over-use becomes a little disconcerting towards the album’s conclusion. What it thankfully does not do is mask The Graduate’s rock-solid rhythm section, with Tim Moore’s drumming especially impressive.

‘Only Every Time’ may not be your prototypically perfect album, since it does have its flaws. In addition to the aforementioned over-produced guitar effects, The Graduate could still use a little more thought and variety in their ultimately standard relationship-based lyrics. They are relatable though and appreciatively contain the same “silver lining to dark clouds” balance which ‘Anhedonia’ did. Even still, these relatively minor indiscretions are easily overlooked when considering all the positives the LP has to offer. Quite simply, ‘Only Every Time’ has that certain X factor that makes its strengths stand out and its weaknesses fade to the background. Fun and catchy, it is an extremely efficient album with hardly a wasted moment on display. In fact, individual songs - and the album as a whole - seem to fly by much quicker than they actually last, resulting in you just wanting to press “play” over and over again. And with so many killer choruses being presented here, then why wouldn’t you want to?

“Out of control, I’m getting closer. End of the road, I know that I’m going where I’m not supposed to go… I don’t care what they say anymore”.

Recommended Tracks: Don’t Die Digging, Pull Me In, All At Once, For The Missing & Stuck (Inside My Head).



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user ratings (150)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
August 30th 2010


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

AbsoluteDavey… Davey mends broken ears.

Ponton
Emeritus
August 30th 2010


5793 Comments


Bleed American 2010, eh? I need to hear this very soon

been forever since I've heard Anhedonia

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
August 30th 2010


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Not quite as many "woh wohs" as 'Bleed American', but in a sense that makes it all the more of an achievement.

And yeah, I'd like to know what you think of this Jared. You can tend to go either way on these kinds of albums.

dinomania
August 30th 2010


97 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

solid review- this band is a serious guilty pleasure of mine

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
August 30th 2010


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

"solid"! Just solid? Isn't the review dino-mite?

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
August 30th 2010


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I tell you one thing that I don't like about this album: the cover art. It's fairly plain & a little unimaginative.

Oh, and the summary must be sung out... Stump style.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
August 30th 2010


31169 Comments


Are you trying to seduce me?

Digging: LV and Joshua Idehen - Islands

MTTS
August 30th 2010


69 Comments


This is a killer album. AWESOME review, I liked the intro especially.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
August 31st 2010


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Dev, everyone knows you are unseduceable.

Thanks MTTS. You reckon it's a 4.5 or is that a touch too high?

And thanks also re: the intro, as I wasn't sure if that would go down too well.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
August 31st 2010


31169 Comments


Dev, everyone knows you are unseduceable.


You just haven't tried properly man

I might check this out, sounds interesting

dinomania
August 31st 2010


97 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Ok let me rephrase that. This review absolutely mind-fucked me and I will never be the same. Nice work. Can't wait to see these guys again in philly in a few weeks.


DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
August 31st 2010


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Tbh, I'm unsure this will be your thing Dev. Maybe MySpace them. The opener is there.

That's better dino. ;-)

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
August 31st 2010


16014 Comments


hey, a daveyboy review! i'd pos' if i could.

this sounds like something i should hear

Digging: Yellowcard - Lift a Sail

Spare
August 31st 2010


5308 Comments


is this pop punk direct?

Digging: Best Witches - Wishes

iisblackstar
August 31st 2010


431 Comments


not to sure about this atm might have to give it a better listen before i pass judgment

crazyblinddude
August 31st 2010


3389 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Hmm... if this is the one you were talking about Davey, I think I'll probably fall in love with it.

darkbunny
August 31st 2010


141 Comments


This reminds me a lot of Mae's "The Everglow."

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
August 31st 2010


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Thanks SS. Yeah, give it a go. Tbh, I think everyone should like this. But that's just me.

No Spare, it is not pop-punk direct.

Come on iisblackstar, don't disappoint me.

Yeah, it is cbd... Get ready to fall in love.

Interesting comparison darkbunny. I think most people around here like 'Everglow', so signs are positive.

crazyblinddude
August 31st 2010


3389 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Will give it a listen shortly. I'm pretty excited. But just wondering Davey Boy, who has dibs on the upcoming Anberlin album?

Winsomniac
August 31st 2010


7972 Comments


Mae, huh? I liked that CD before my ex made me hate it. Will give this a try.



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