Review Summary: She said... He said... She said... She said.
While one would be hard-pressed to argue that the genre has delivered anything truly original for quite some time now, pop-punk has observed a minor resurgence of late. As the grittier end of the spectrum has returned to its blue-collar roots, the poppier style has steadily infiltrated the mainstream, with the likes of Fall Out Boy, Panic! at The Disco and Paramore all achieving significant worldwide success. The latter outfit have also pioneered a female-led dynamic, with a number of virtual copycats popping up to cash in. Quite possibly the most promising of the bunch is New York quintet We Are The In Crowd, who look to target both genders of the genre's predominantly young demographic by employing boy-girl vocals. While lacking in diversity, the band's debut EP 'Guaranteed To Disagree' delivered seven fun, energetic and infectious tracks which were certain to please its intended audience. Follow-up LP 'Best Intentions' is likely to do the same, even if its attempts at growth are minimal.
Employing their fan-friendly formula, punchy up-tempo opener and lead single 'Rumor Mill' practically summarizes the album in one hit. Dual vocalists Taylor Jardine (the girl) and Jordan Eckes (the boy) trade verses to convey the "he said, she said" nature of their song-writing, while Jardine takes over come chorus time. At their best when the pace is high and the vocalists display an angsty attitude, both 'Rumor Mill' and closer 'Better Luck Next Time' also lift the quality of the supporting musicians. Elsewhere, everything is competent, but very little stands out from the crowded pack. Any attempt at varying the vocal dynamic is predictable and, no matter how often they sprinkle keys around or make the bass-lines audible, the quality of each tune ultimately relies on how catchy its chorus is. Whenever the energy drops and the band hit mid-tempo pop-rock fare, the results are bland and the one-dimensional aspect of the act wears thin. 'All or Nothing' and the strings-infused 'You've Got It Made' are admirable attempts at writing ballads with some depth, but the necessary maturity required to distinguish such tracks is yet to come.
Expectations of the individual listener will clearly determine how one views ‘Best Intentions’, since it is clearly not an album intended to deliver anything too ground-breaking… While the dual vocal dynamic does have potential, We Are The In Crowd are unlikely to alter the course of music history in any way, shape or form. Their debut LP does succeed, however, in meeting the expectations of their target demographic; delivering a consistent batch of ten catchy tracks that waste very little time getting to their contagious choruses. The album may not have much replay value for the casual listener, but at less than 32 minutes in length, it won’t take up too much of their time either. Rarely falling to the depths of many of their peers (excluding the annoying title of the otherwise decent ‘This Isn’t Goodbye, It’s BRB’), the very least that can be said about ‘Best Intentions’ is that its title is apt.
Recommended Tracks: Rumor Mill, Better Luck Next Time & On Your Own.
Way too much pop-punky type of albums dropped today.
"Catchy, but terrible" FORBES? Almost a contradiction. I know what you mean though.
I don't think Eckes is awful, but you're right in that he couldn't handle the load by himself. The thing is, if he is gradually phased out, do the band lose everything that differentiates them? I guess the answer depends on how much Jardine improves.
Yea, I completely agree. Without the boy-girl dynamic there really isn't anything that separates them from the hoards of other bands doing this exact same formula. I would just like to see more interplay between the two of them and see him improve. Right now, it just seems like he was an afterthought.
Their EP was surprisingly good when it came out, and i am pretty sure i was one of the first people outside of the United States to hear of them.
Nonetheless this is above average pop-punk and is a great follow up to their EP.