Review Summary: As catchy as it gets.
The Boston music scene is ripe with growing musicians waiting to bust out and grace the rest of the world with their presence. Whether it be metal, hardcore, pop-punk, or any other genre catering to fans of underground music, the list of bands is endless and pop-punk band A Loss For Words are among the favorites. Following the success of their 2009 full length “The Kids Can't Lose”, the band has signed to Rise Records there were certainly mixed feelings on what that meant for the future of the band. Rise has a reputation of churning out the same old run of the mill “genericore” albums, band after band. A Loss For Words' debut with Rise “No Sanctuary” gives a little more validity to the Rise roster as it is certainly a breath of fresh air amongst all the debauchery.
This album kicks off at a million miles per hour with the opening track “Honeymoon Eyes.” Bouncy yet still melodic, this song does an excellent job blending fast paced rock reminiscent of Yellowcard with their general pop-punk style. The chorus is as catchy as they come and this is the case with most of the album. Pop-punk bands aren't out to release an album of guitar wankery or breakdowns so their greatest weapon to stay relevant in an overcrowded genre is to stay catchy. A Loss For Words put the focus on the music as a whole rather than just single memorable moments scattered throughout an album of filler.
The highlight of this album is unarguable vocalist Matt Arsenault's unique voice. He has a genuinely pleasant tone that perfectly fits the bands poppy style. Lyrically, “No Sanctuary” is generally well written and free of cheesy, cringe-worthy one liners. The content is nothing out of the ordinary. Most of the songs are about girls, life on the road, missing their friends and family, etc. His vocals fluctuate to add to the catchiness of each chorus and verse urging listeners to sing along. The title track is the only song to feature harsh vocals. It's a more hardcore approach while still adding Matt's signature melodies in the chorus.
There are very few negative things to say about this album as a whole but some of the riffs can be a little monotonous such as the lead riff in the song “Raining Excuses.” Another issue which is common in this genre of music is that a lot of the songs seem to follow the same formula over and over. Lucky for them they have it generally perfected and are still able to write solid catchy songs that don't lose their replay value after five spins. All in all the innocent and catchy hooks are extremely enjoyable and you can help but move and sing along. This is a very good start to the bands career as signed musicians and hopefully this album will take them to even greater heights as they grow together musically.
The Lost Cause I Use To Be