Review Summary: ADTR finally decides they want to be taken seriously with ‘What Seperates Me From You.’
To me, A Day to Remember always seemed like the band everybody loved to hate or listened to in secret as a “guilty pleasure.” It’s ok now ADTR fans. You can hold your head up high. What Seperates Me From You
is a shame and guilt free experience.
Previously, the band chose to mix two genres that don’t tend hang out in the same social groups. The mixing of pop punk and hardcore had mixed results, but this time around something feels different. Things are really starting to click this time. While Homesick
made a few improvements over For Those Who Have Heart
, it still made some of the same mistakes (and even some new ones) and left a little (or a lot) to be desired. With What Seperates Me From You
we get 10 very focused tracks instead of 14 or 15 decent tracks with a few gems in the rough. We’re getting quality over quantity and it’s a much better deal.
Quite a bit has been improved on What Seperates Me From You
. The screaming and singing vocals are much better and the guitar work is a step up as well. The lead guitar is actually engaging and more front and center. Before, if and when it showed up, it usually got lost in the mix or just didn’t do anything interesting (or both).
The genre mixing is more sectioned off here. Before ADTR would throw in hardcore breakdowns or catchy pop punk choruses in places that felt forced and ended up ruining a perfectly good song. Instead of forcing these two somewhat conflicting genres together, they are given space to work on their own. On What Seperates Me From You
we get more of an overall rock feel with some pop punk and hardcore thrown in. With the hardcore (or metalcore, whatever you want to call it) songs, they don’t switch over to the pop punk chorus anymore. Instead, we are treated to more of an upbeat rock feel without the nasally vocals. It is a much better alternative. “Sticks and Bricks” and “You be Tails, I’ll be Sonic” are the two tracks that fit this description the best. Then there is “2nd Sucks,” which is just two and half minutes of anger molded into a track of raging vocals and heavy guitars that work together to build the tension as it tears through a war-path. “It’s Complicated” and “All Signs Point to Lauderdale” bring the pop-punk back in full force. They are very well-done, catchy and are enjoyable to listen to. Songs like “Better off This Way” and “Out of Time” have more of an edge than the pop-punk tracks, mixing rock styled verses with catchier pop injected choruses that transition back and forth nicely. They dropped the “Hey, let’s all play as fast as we can” pop-punk style that was made popular and abused by so many bands before them, like Green Day, New Found Glory, MxPx and Blink 182. I enjoyed that stuff in my teens, but now it just feels simple, boring and repetitive.
A Day to Remember is really heading in a good direction with this release. They took things they did before with more success this time, while trying a couple of new ideas and getting rid of some things that were holding them back. It’s not perfect by any means though. I think they could use a few more of the hardcore songs in there. They are done so much better this time around but only appear on about a third of the album. Also, some new song topics could be thrown in the mix with some more attention to the quality of the lyrics (seriously, who hasn’t thought of rhyming luck with f*ck?). It kind of feels like several lyrical topics are just being re-hashed from For Those Who Have Heart
onward. The bass and drums never really stick out either. They are just kind of there. Maybe if the band worked up their technique a little for the next album things could really start coming together.
ADTR did it. They turned me. I will actually be looking forward to their next release instead of buying them on a whim at the local Hastings bargain bin.