Review Summary: Competently forgettable.
To get right to the point, Before It Caves
is overwhelmingly disappointing. A Loss For Words impressed with their debut The Kids Can’t Lose
and especially the follow-up No Sanctuary
. Both were filled with great hooks, pleasant melodies, and exquisite energy. By comparison, the pop punk outfit’s third record goes by with little impact. From a technical standpoint, there’s little wrong. The music sounds like pop punk generally does, and it sounds good from a production viewpoint. The problem is that it comes off as over polished and lacks the needed hooks, with not a hint of adventurous songwriting. Sure, the band didn’t venture far from the pop punk box on their last two albums, but No Sanctuary
featured some surprising moments like the hardcore based title track at least. Before It Caves
is one poppy song after another with too few memorable moments to keep it interesting.
Admittedly, the first two tracks are strong enough to live up to the standard of A Loss For Words’ last album. “Distance” has an actual hook for one, and Lynn Gunn of PVRIS fame livens up the back half. “Conquest of Mistakes” is likewise invigorated by a guest performance, this time by Soupy of pop punk leaders The Wonder Years. Finally, “20 Block” has a guitar melody that helps it stand out enough to be a highlight. That makes three great songs out of thirteen, which should adequately highlight the issue with Before It Caves
. Three quarters of the album is virtually filler. Albeit pleasant filler, but filler nonetheless, and that’s really all it takes to ruin this record. A Loss For Words thrive on hooky, fun material, and when that’s taken away, all we’re left with is a near empty shell of a pop punk record.