Review Summary: A strangely intimate and meaningful album from a band you would never expect such from.
I’ve always thought of Trevor McNevan as being one of the more curious vocalists in music. He’s a tad too gritty to be a pansy, but he’s also certainly way too soft to accurately fill that slightly obnoxious role of a hard rock front man. He carries this charm throughout all of his music that makes him pretty hard to hate, but at the same time he’s also a little hard to take seriously. His music with Thousand Foot Krutch and FM Static ranges from solid and mildly enjoyable (Phenomenon, What Are You Waiting For?) to absolutely terrible (Set It Off, which is the worst album I’ve ever heard, My Brain Says Stop But My Heart Says Go). His almost childish quality makes Thousand Foot Krutch pretty easily serve as one of those “childhood bands” in younger formative years (which I have to admit Thousand Foot Krutch was for me a bit). He carries the toughness that a junior high boy admires and believes to be characteristic of “adults” but at the same time he’s much too vulnerable and innocent to forsake the pre/just starting hormonal preteen. And like that young boy, Trevor McNevan must eventually grow up, even if it is completely temporary and fleeting. The Flame In All Of Us is his only mature album.
The starkest difference between TFIAOU and every other Thousand Foot Krutch album is that there is no cheesy arena rock single on the album to be found. “Falls Apart” is the closest, which is interestingly one of TFK’s weakest lead singles ever. It functions better in an album context than as a bombastic single, and apart from it there isn’t a clear “single” song found on the rest of the album. TFIAOU is remarkably consistent and even, and although it may seem to lack standout tracks, it also is nearly absent of filler tracks. That’s not to say that it is particularly album oriented with interludes, overall themes, etc., but it feels like for the first time Thousand Foot Krutch decided to focus on deep tracks rather than lead singles, to the point of not even really writing singles. That’s not to say that some of the choruses aren’t really
anthemic, but at least the songs are actually about legitimate things. It’s often in the slowest portions of the album that the strengths are the most defined, such as the mid album ballad “What Do We Know?” which is a genuine and beautiful track with extremely well-written verses, a classic Thousand Foot Krutch chorus, and a surprisingly effective use of a children’s choir. The last two tracks are also among the best of TFK’s career, especially the nostalgic, heartfelt pop closer “The Last Song.” It’s a tad ironic that McNevan’s most mature and worthwhile moments of his career come in his most gentle and soft, which is the opposite of what the young adolescent is looking for in his search for “maturity.”
I have this tendency to call this McNevan’s “mid-life crisis” album, but maybe that’s not accurate at all. The follow up, Welcome To The Masquerade, may be the truer “mid-life crisis” album, in which McNevan looks back on his brief maturity and rejects it, returning to the THROW UP THE RAWKFIST days, with choruses like “it’s getting cold in here, so somebody fire it up!” It’s tempting to point the finger and accuse him of being just trying to be another crowd pleasing silly show man, but at some point we have to realize that McNevan will never truly grow up. So what we are left with is one album of “maybe I’m getting too old for this,” which regardless of other discography is an honest, vulnerable, and strangely intimate hard rock/rock album that will likely forever be the closest look into one of music’s biggest man-childs. Recommended.