Review Summary: Tonight Alive's sophomore album blows their competitors away.
Tonight Alive are a 5 piece pop-punk from Sydney, Australia. With their sophomore album, the quintet has improved on their first effort tremendously. This is an album full of highlights and has proved that Tonight Alive have well and truly matured their sound.
With the opening song ‘’The Ocean’’ we immediately hear a different sound to Tonight Alive. A darker tone is set throughout the song with also darker lyrical content. ‘’And I feel paralyzed, been cut down to size. I hardly have the strength, to open up my eyes. Coz I am swollen and this has stolen my sanity. Well it's hard to see beyond this when it's fighting against me’’ This opener shows us some versatility to their new sound and is an appropriate opener. The lead single from the record ‘’Lonely Girl’’ continues along the path with another darker tone with lyrics about a girl who has made the wrong choices in life and is going in the wrong direction. The song is certainly good, but it is definitely not the best on the album.
‘’Hell and Back’’ is the first real glimpse we have of Jenna McDougall’s fine vocals and shows us that she is more than just a pretty face. ‘’It was the heaviest place that I have ever been in. As the walls crashed down I felt it slip away. Cause I went to hell and back just to be where I am today’’ This new mature and dark sound to Tonight Alive is definitely welcome with some great vocals, guitar work and drumming. The title track ‘’The Other Side’’ is a ballad which highlights a personal experience documenting a close friendship. ‘’I still wish we could've made it right. You can't say that I never tried. I guess everything seems more clear, here on the other side.’’ One of the best on the album due to having such a close meaning to Jenna as she lends one of her best vocal performances. The absolute standout on this record is ‘’Come Home’’ the song is more upbeat with Jenna showcasing her brilliant versatile vocals in arguably her best performance of her career.
Although Jenna’s fantastic vocals are the obvious highlight of this record, the instruments are definitely not forgotten. Whakaio Taahi’s guitar performance is definitely 2nd to Jenna’s vocal performance. His tones and riffs are above average for this genre and his is able to lend his own personal touch to all songs. His best performance is on the lead single ‘’Lonely Girl’’ his sweeps and riff throughout the song shows his maturity and confidence as a guitar player. Jake Hardy also lends his personal touch to each song with some great rhythm guitar especially on ‘’The Fire’’ a faster song that encompasses a great rhythm section. Cam Adler is mostly heard during the darker songs with his bass guitar allowing a darker tone to escape the speakers. The most underrated member of this band is drummer Matt Best. He is able to create some great fills and is surely a competent drummer also lending a special flavour to each song.
The only real criticism you can have of this record is that some parts seem too similar and this sound is definitely not something we haven’t heard before. Another notable part of this record is its very slick production. It highlights all elements of the band well, lending to a more enjoyable experience for the listener.
Tonight Alive’s second album has proved that this young band can improve and mature their sound with excellent results. A surprising factor of this band is that they are all still very young. All members are in their early 20’s and they already are very competent musicians. A bright future is ahead for this quintet. And l am very excited for the ride.