Review Summary: Don’t let the awfully formulaic band name fool you – We Still Dream’s Chapters is a fun pop-punk jam, catering for both summer playlists and road trip soundtracks; done up with hooks that will stay in your head for days.
It’s hard to listen to pop-punk acts with a critical approach because the music is so blatantly not made for it. The music has a direct target audience, douses itself in beguiling and fun musicianship, and perhaps the aim here is to get kids pumped and get people moving. Perhaps one of the most prevailing incentive of acts in the ilk of Fall Out Boy, New Found Glory and modern day equivalents Hit the Lights and The Wonder Years is just jump around and have a good time.
We Still Dream make no attempt to hide this facet, and go as far to revel in it; and it makes for a damn enjoyable listen. Comparisons with the aforementioned bands are inevitable, and whilst they do little to deviate from the pop-punk formula, the sound here is ubiquitously upbeat with shades of pop-bombast and fun in its simplicity. While there is some mistakes, flaws in the songwriting and some awkward passages, it doesn’t shake the end result; the music isn’t aiming for anything more than an enjoyable listen. For that reason, it’s hard to fault a band who know exactly how they’re channelling their influences and exactly what sound they want to make.
Everything here is reminiscent of early Fall Out Boy records, which could perhaps be attributed to vocalist Dustin Monk holding a similar tone to Patrick stump and pennant for constructing vocal lines with one or two higher-register lines over the top of his normal singing voice. That influence can also be seen in the music itself, sometimes verses dropping into 15 second pop-punk jams; for example mid verse in the albums ridiculously catchy single ‘Life's An Avalanche...Survive It.’ Themes also are run-of the mill convention for acts of We Still Dream’s ilk, for example escaping suburbia, getting that girl, or being more than you are capable of. ‘I’ll make it worth your while!’ Monk sings on ‘She’s Got Class,’ a track which revels in lucid boy-gets girl storytelling.
With some better production, and some bigger exposure, We Still Dream looks like a band to watch in coming years. For now, take a couple of these tracks and add them to your summer playlists; for an album that boasts the fact that every track could be a well-worn single, Chapters
is well worth the look.