Review Summary: After a delay of over a year, Broadway release a disappointing sophomore record.
All the way back in 2009, Broadway released their debut album, Kingdoms, and it looked like they would head straight to stardom. It was packed with soaring chorus', fast riffs, vicious breakdowns and harsh screams, all with one of the genre's best new singers, Misha Camacho. They announced in 2010 that they were working on a follow up album, and set a release date of March 2011. The date came and went, and it would be over another year before we heard music by the band.
After such a relatively long wait between albums, plus a change of guitarists, it's no surprise the band has had a change of sound. Gone are most of the screams, and a lot of the harder aspects of their music, and instead we have a poppier sound, more in keeping with bands such as Sleeping With Sirens. This is best shown by the second track, 'Faster, Faster', featuring vocals that sound like a more masculine Kellin Quinn.
This new sound is rather hit and miss however, as for every 'Faster, Faster' there is an 'I Can't Do This On My Own', a mid paced song that comes across simply as boring. Meanwhile, 'I'm Not A Rockstar' is a genuinely awful song. Featuring some diabolical lyrical content, it manages to combine boring musicianship with the worst moment on the whole album ("Who cares 'cause I'm still a rockstar" shouted electronically).
Elsewhere, the band takes the sound that made bands such as Sleeping With Sirens big, and amplify the chorus' to stadium size. Opening track 'Party At Sean's House' opens the album on its highest point. Insanely catchy all the way through, featuring crunchy guitars, the song describes the feeling of coming home after a long time away, and the chorus contains a brilliantly catchy recount of a house party and would be a good choice for next single. They even touch on the style from Kingdoms in some tracks. Lead single 'Vagrant Stories' sounds like the poppier moments of their debut, while the closing title track is a fast, furious song that contains screams, a breakdown, and the quickest pace on the record.
The instrumentation is strong through the majority of the album, with the end of Lawyered (Yes, that's a How I Met Your Mother reference) featuring a great, yet short, solo while screams join it. A mention must go to the drummer Jake Garland, also in Memphis May Fire, who happens to be a highlight of every single track. Lyrically the album is up and down, but Misha really pulls out all the stops vocally, cementing his place as one of the best vocalists in post-hardcore or pop-punk.
The main problem this album has, is in standing up to it's older brother. Listening to them back-to-back, it's hard not to feel like this album has very few songs that would be of high enough quality to appear on Kingdoms. Perhaps the fact this was recorded over one and a half years ago do nothing to help the band, and should remember this for album number three.