Review Summary: If you're a fan of punk, pop, or pop-punk in general than I think you'll have a field day with this fun album.
The best part of loving a band for a long time is being able to see all the band's done to progress and become the band they are today. And one of the best offenders of this stereotype is Brand New, with their early outputs being much different than their newer, darker stuff. This album is pure pop-punk, nothing more nothing less, but it sure is a fun ride. Jesse Lacey is full wonder, singing his heart out with wild abandon, much sweeter to hear than his later, forgive me for saying it, emo, counterpart. This is immediately evidenced by the opening song The Shower Scene. He shouts his heart out about a girl that's dumped him and this is a very very common theme among the album. He sings with such a vindictive fury and rage that its hard to not take him completely seriously. The song has almost a hardcore punk vibe with him shouting "and this is me in your room" at the top of his lungs over and over.
From here the album settles into a more poppunk style starting with Jude Law and the Semester Abroad. This is a grate track, especially considering the dumb title, you might think the song would suck, but its actually one of the best on here. The harmony to go along with the vocal melody is simply brilliant, and is actually way better than the regular melody, which is a rare feat, so congrats to Jesse for that one. The next track Sudden Death in Carolina is more of the same but its also a fun poppy track with a bit of a hardcore edge. But he mixes things up on Mix Tape which is almost a power ballad until the end where it gets bigger and bigger until fizzling out like a brilliant firework in the sky. This would be a good time to talk about the band, on this outing they play pretty simple pop-punk rhythms concerning the drums and bass. The guitar is pretty simple too and it would lead you to believe that the album is simple but Jesse Lacey really saves it from becoming too simple for its own good.
After that we get a couple business as usual tracks before we're greeted by the grand magnum opus of the album, The No-Seatbelt Song. This song is basically Limousine (for all you Devil and God Raging fans) except years ahead of it's time. It's a cool but very downbeat song and that's fine to have downbeat songs, as long as it's one like here, and not all of them. And the downer mood works because the track right immediately after this one is 70 times 7, a fan favorite of mine and others', which infamously contains lyrics directed at Taking Back Sunday's John Nolan. And it's said that Taking Back Sunday's song on Tell All Your Friends, There's No I In Team is a retort to this very song. This is probably one of my favorite songs on the album just because of it's catchy bridge and snarky as hell lyrics. Overall it's a pretty decent album elevated by some of the best pop-punk songs I've heard in a long time, and it's just a really fun adventure.