I was never a huge fan of Drive-Thru records back in the day. The Starting Line, Allister, The Early November, it all screamed "generic" with every chord. Now, I guess the tables have turned. What was once dull and lifeless thanks to the efforts of Sum 41 and Blink-182 is now a little more fresh and fun, and a great break from the recent wave of "emo" that has plagued the media. Yeah kids, get those Atreyu and My Chemical Romance CD's off! It's time for a lesson in pop-punk, Drive-Thru style.
Allister aren't exactly an original band. What they pull off well is fun, and that's what you'll find here. It's been 3 years since their last album, Last Stop, Suburbia
, and the boys are back pounding away at those guitar strings like before. From the minute you hear this album sing "Well lately...", it does scream "generic". But this is less generic than the 2002 style pop-punk, it's fast-paced and filled with fun melodies and lyrics to keep you singing along. "D²" is the first real example of them growing up, with a lot more melody and structure between the lead and rhythm guitar. It's 4 minutes of cheesy pop-punk, with clichés like "Locked down and alienated, confused and complicated/Now it seems you still have my heart".
Of course, the album doesn't stop there. It's a bit darker than previous Allister, with heavier riffs and licks complementing each other nicely. "Blackout" truely does feel like another band, but even with the slower tempo and rolling drums, you never forget it's Allister. The chorus puts you back in place and will have you dinging along in no time. "2 A.M." is a very melodic song, jumping from a clean verse with "ooh's" in the background over a smooth guitar melody, to a distorted chorus which does feel quite bland and unoriginal, but it's hard not to fall for the song if you are a DTR pop-punk fan.
"A Study In Economics" again doesn't feel like Allister, but it's completely different. More rolling drums, a bass-oriented verse and hard-hitting chorus make this feel like old-school Green Day believe it or not. Of course, I'm not comparing, but it reminds me of them a lot. The pace definately adds to the structure as well, switching from loud to quiet so smoothly. "Easy Answers" once again feels like another band, much more like American Hi-Fi. The screeching guitar lick between the chorus and second verse, the heavier guitars and guest vocals definately make this a change for the album, and add a lot of variety to a small genre.
Now, "The Legend Of Peglef Sullivan" is more like Allister, and is the "joke song" of the album. It has a great melody and is one of the more memorable songs on the album, just because of it's lyrics. The ender, "Alone", is a fantastic way to cap it off. It sort of sums up the album completely, and represents Allister for what they are; Just another pop-punk band trying to have fun doing what they love.
Yeah, this album does scream "generic". But don't let this put you off. It feels like 2002 pop-punk again, and is a great breather from the music filling the airwaves today. Fun lyrics and melodies, some surprise songs which open new doors for the band. Before The Blackout
is by far not an original album, but it serves it's purpose, and I enjoy listening to this. As much as I used to hate Drive-Thru, it feels good to be able to enjoy pop-punk of this style again. Now, if we could get Fenix*TX and The Movielife rejoining and bringing out new albums, my year might just be complete.