The Cab
Symphony Soldier


3.5
great

Review

by Davey Boy STAFF
August 29th, 2011 | 60 replies | 16,752 views


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Coming out guns & strings a blazing, just how far can this cab ride go?

Of the multitude of bands plying their trade in the safe, inoffensive and often derided genre of pop-rock (or power-pop if you are so inclined), only a handful truly make a successful profession out of it. In most cases, it will eventuate from an outfit who trip over an insanely catchy tune and are able to elongate their career as a one-hit wonder. However, there are the rare exceptions, with the likes of Coldplay, Maroon 5 and even The Script and OneRepublic being able to consistently churn out inventively catchy tracks that attract more than just the casual radio listener. What these bands have in common is a penchant to think big in order to distinguish themselves from the pack... On their second LP 'Symphony Soldier', Las Vegas outfit The Cab attempt to do the same and elevate themselves into the higher bracket of pop-rock acts.

While the then quintet had previously shown some potential - whether it be their pop-punk leaning debut EP or the difficult to dislodge LP 'Whisper War' - nothing firmly suggested a steep ascension for The Cab. Furthermore, their most recent release, 'The Lady Luck EP', indicated a step in the wrong direction in order to win over the masses. Thankfully, it seems that was nothing but an experiment with 'Symphony Soldier' coming out all guns and strings a blazing (see the striking album cover). Holding absolutely nothing back, opener 'Angel With a Shotgun' immediately throws enchanting strings, haunting synth and even a choir into the mix, while the following 'Temporary Bliss' adds an infectious chorus that makes it a puzzling non-choice as the album's lead single. That honor went to third track 'Bad', a Bruno Mars sound-alike party song that moves from piano ballad to group sing-along in a rather nifty, if gimmicky, manner.

Despite losing some band members along the way, The Cab have retained their greatest asset; accomplished lead vocalist Alex DeLeon. While he may not have the strongest voice, it is silky smooth and has a nice range that avoids the whiney nature which characterizes many similar acts. Even when 'Symphony Soldier' gets a little trite in its mid-section, DeLeon's vocals hold up the likes of the playfully catchy 'Animal' and the Maroon 5'ish 'La La'. Unfortunately, some shonky lyrics do not help, with 'La La' giving us "You know that you could be my favorite one-night stand", while 'Her Love Is My Religion' proclaims "I see the stars in the freckles on her face"! The theme of love is far too narrow here and continues the band's lyrical trend downwards since their deceptively mature 'Glitz and Glamour' EP. Thankfully, the adjustment of the lyrical perspective on rocker 'Another Me', sincere break-up ballad 'Lovesick Fool' and uplifting closer 'Living Louder' does mean that the latter half of 'Symphony Soldier' continues to retain interest.

What makes this newfound ambition all the more surprising from The Cab, is the recent upheaval the now trio have endured. Not only have multiple band members departed, but 'Symphony Soldier' was released independently after the group broke ties with scene label Decaydance/Fueled By Ramen. Both of these changes could well be put down to the band's more poppier sound evident here, with a clear determination to cross over and achieve some mainstream success. To that extent, the polished, crystal-clear production of John Feldmann (Panic! At The Disco, The Used) is effective, as are the mild contemporary R'n'B influences which are all the rage nowadays. At 46 minutes, the album is undoubtedly overlong and repetitive, yet there is no real filler, just some redundancy in its mid-section. It is the kind of misstep that is predominantly forgivable when such a young band are looking to extend themselves, as The Cab are on 'Symphony Soldier'. And with the results apparent here, who knows just how long and far this cab ride will go?

Recommended Tracks: Temporary Bliss, Angel With a Shotgun, Another Me & Living Louder.



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user ratings (65)
Chart.
3.3
great
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thechodewarrior (3)
A more mainstream approach isn't always necessarily a good change, but compared to most modern music...


Comments:Add a Comment 
DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
August 29th 2011



20830 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

And the winner of the "Pleasant Surprise of 2011" award goes to...

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
August 29th 2011



30320 Comments


Me

Digging: L'Orange - The Orchid Days

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
August 29th 2011



20830 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

No Dev, you won the "Most Album Ratings In a Year" award.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
August 29th 2011



30320 Comments


Hazaar!

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
August 29th 2011



20830 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I can just imagine your victory speech earning the ire of all & sundry.

klap
Staff Reviewer
August 29th 2011



10019 Comments


glad i only had to go one line deep in this review to see the cab ride metaphor

Digging: Woods - With Light And With Love

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
August 29th 2011



20830 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I tried to resist Rudy, but, well, my name is Davey and I have a problem.

I couldn't quite work the word "flagfall" into it unfortunately.

Sanders
August 29th 2011



2326 Comments


Nice review This sounds like something I'd enjoy as a guilty pleasure. Also, that album art is pretty cool. I had no idea that John Feldmann was such a prolific producer though.

dimsim3478
August 29th 2011



4030 Comments


He's produced a hell of a lot of stuff, in addition to his work with Goldfinger.

Digging: Trophy Scars - Holy Vacants

MrSenior
August 29th 2011



212 Comments


Solid review, Davey. I completely forgot about these guys, but this release is absurdly catchy. I agree with pretty much everything you said.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
August 29th 2011



20830 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Sanders, the words "guilty" & "pleasure" are gonna be used a lot with this album. It's just a matter of who admits they like it & who is too cool to do so.

William, I am 99.9% certain you will really enjoy this. I'm predicting a 4 from you.

As Mr. Senior said, it is "absurdly catchy". Thanks man.

The more I listen to this, the more I think they blew an opportunity by releasing 'Bad' as the 1st single. I blame Bruno Mars - who coincidentally co-wrote 'Endlessly' on this album.

theacademy
August 29th 2011



27703 Comments


wait wtf. their first album owns the title of 'worst album I have in my itunes" and trust me that means something

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
August 29th 2011



23671 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

No Dev, you won the "Most Album Ratings In a Year" award.


hahahaha so true.

I might like this album, what's one song I should look up to get a feel for it?

Digging: Trophy Scars - Holy Vacants

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
August 29th 2011



20830 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Well get it out of there Academy.

Aids, I'd say 'Temporary Bliss'. It should hook you immediately.

Fortheloveofmusic
August 29th 2011



491 Comments


Listening to this now based on your Rec from the Onerepublic review, and liking what I hear. 'Temporary Bliss' is really good

tkxxx7
August 29th 2011



6146 Comments


I'll probably like this. Will listen later.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
August 29th 2011



20830 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I told you fortheloveofmusic. And yeah, 'TB' definitely should have been the lead single.

I think you will tk. 80% chance. Predicted rating: 3.5.

goldengrey
August 30th 2011



1 Comments


I haven't listened to them, but based on the coldplay/maroon5/onerepublic comparisons, you should get rid of the "power pop" mention. Power pop is much more guitar based and Beatles-y than any of those bands, but otherwise good review!

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
August 30th 2011



20830 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks.

Meh... Genres. Plus, this is more guitar-based than those bands. They basically began as a pop-punk outfit. It's just that they have incorporated strings & keys here. Think the rockier songs of those aforementioned comparisons.

Ikarus14
August 30th 2011



519 Comments


Coldplay and The Script reccommended by the reviewer? I'll give this a miss then. :L



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