The Color Fred
Bend To Break



by joshuatree EMERITUS
December 15th, 2007 | 15 replies

Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Not worthy of your time.

It’s sad when the members of your band form side projects that are in turn better than the band itself. Unfortunately, this rings true for Taking Back Sunday, the pop-punk quartet (once a quintet) that has continuously shuffled members since its 2002 debut, the excellent Tell All Your Friends, a bright spot that the band has never been able to duplicate, most probably because of the inconsistencies in the band’s lineup. Meanwhile, former TBS band members Jesse Lacey and John Nolan have respectively formed Brand New and Straylight Run, and have recently released excellent releases in contrast to the stale tepidness of TBS’s recent borefest, Louder Now. Now former guitarist/vocalist Fred Mascherino attempts to continue the trend and come out on his own by leaving Taking Back Sunday to pursue a solo career, thus forming The Color Fred, a name chosen by fans over Myspace. So the pressure is on Mascherino to perform, and while his debut, Bend to Break, isn’t horrible; it definitely is a little stale, and resembles Mascherino’s former work with Taking Back Sunday a little too much.

It’s obvious to see that Mascherino didn’t go solo to become less known than Taking Back Sunday. The sound on Bend to Break is loud and anthemic, and the choruses are big and catchy. The problem is, they aren’t really that memorable. “Get Out”, the first track on the album, begins solemnly with just Mascherino’s voice and the exuberant strumming of an acoustic guitar. And that’s where all hopes of an emotional, isolated singer-songwriter’s work of art ends, as the song builds up and adds the traditional pop-punk requirements: loud guitars, a simple-as-*** drum pattern, and a big chorus. But when you get to the next song, “If I Surrender”, you’ve completely forgotten about “Get Out”, mainly because “If I Surrender” is the same damn exact thing. Faux-angst lyrics? Check! A chorus that is catchy and poppy, but sort of same-y and seems like it was written in ten minutes? Check! The same soft-loud dynamics ripped off from the Pixies since 1990? Check! Mascherino does change it up every once and a while, but the results are similarly mixed. “It Isn’t Me” replaces the big-ass guitars with pianos and violins, but instead of adding an emotional twist to the song that before couldn’t of been heard with just simple guitars, it just sounds like Mascherino just took a guitar-based track and replaced it with pianos, and left it at that. “Empty House” is also piano-based, but instead of shooting for radio with a big chorus, Mascherino keeps the melody from over-bearing the song and lets the song wander, and provides a brief change of pace from the sugar rush of the previous seven songs. “I’ll Never Know” is driven by a simple acoustic guitar, but instead of being distinctive and different, it just sounds like Mascherino listened to Green Day’s “Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)” and got inspired.

But all variety found in Bend To Break ends there. It really makes you wonder why exactly Fred Mascherino left Taking Back Sunday. He isn’t pursuing a different musical direction like John Nolan did: every song here could comfortably fit on a Taking Back Sunday album, and the sound is most easily described as “Taking Back Sunday without Adam Lazzara”. Sure, when Jesse Lacey left TBS and formed Brand New, the sound wasn’t all that much different, but Your Favorite Weapon at least had some differing aspects between songs. Fred Mascherino seems content to release the same brand of pop-punk that was boring when TBS released it, and with bands such as Say Anything and My Chemical Romance pushing forward and expanding the genre, you have to be a little different to stand out. Bend To Break just doesn’t do that, and it’s definitely not worthy of your time. Why? Cause, baby, you've heard it all before.

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Comments:Add a Comment 
Electric City
December 15th 2007



Review was a little rant-y at times, but I guess this blows.

December 15th 2007


Yeaaaah, this blows. Like three songs were even halfway good.

Sorry if it's a little rant-y. I didn't proofread it, but I don't feel like editing anything.This Message Edited On 12.15.07

December 15th 2007


I agree with almost everything you said.

December 15th 2007


took a guitar-based track and replaced it with guitars

TypoThis Message Edited On 12.15.07

December 15th 2007


Great review. Was considering looking into this, but now maybe not so much.

December 16th 2007


Album Rating: 2.5

wow you pretty much hit everything spot on. i'd give this a slightly higher rating tho

December 16th 2007


Album Rating: 4.0

While I feel Bend to Break probably doesn't break new ground when it comes to songwriting, I feel the album is executed very well and has some memorable tracks. And it differs from TBS's newer, harder sound direction featured in "Louder Now." Bend to Break features catchy and memorable guitar hooks such as in "If I Surrender," and my personal favorite "Hate To See You Go." I can personally say this is one of the best albums I have bought this year. If your a fan of the pop/rock genre or a fan of older TBS, then I believe you'll enjoy Bend To Break. This Message Edited On 12.16.07

December 29th 2007


I've heard the single and it's not too bad. I'm thinking of buying the album but i've heard mixed things so I don't know.

Equal Vision seems to be in full force with promoting this album too.This Message Edited On 12.29.07

January 6th 2008


I think the comparison was more for the "spiteful bands became better, while an earnest side-project turned out worse" irony.This Message Edited On 01.06.08

January 6th 2008


exactly what serp said

January 30th 2008


I liked the album itself, but the single 'If I Surrender' was pretty average.

February 19th 2008


Album Rating: 2.5

The album just doesnt catch my attention very much. i try to listen to it, it just fails to deliver. I mean its ok, but ive heard better.

March 3rd 2008


Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah, your review seems a bit rant-y agreed.

I understand where you are coming from with most points though - 'resembles Mascherino’s former work with Taking Back Sunday a little too much.' ;

It's enevitable that there would be some hint of TBS in this album, they did have such sucess with 'Louder Now' that I doubt Fred would want to step back in the reconition stakes.

It's a simple album. Fun and catchy and I really like it.

Obviously I've heard better too, but it isn't that bad!

July 13th 2009


Album Rating: 2.0

should have stayed with tbs...

July 26th 2023


Album Rating: 3.0

this album was pretty decent. I'll never know is a tune

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