Some general impressions
So this is it, the second major release of the welsh band from Ponibrid (they have the funniest names down there... :)) This is a record that splits the masses, so to say. Fans of their first full length LP 'The Fake Sound of Progress' will tell you that it lacks the innovation and energy of the first album. Fans of this piece will tell you the melodies, vocals and the songwriting in general has improved. And both are right, in a way at least.
'The Fake Sound of Progress' was a quite heavy album compared to 'Start Something'. Rough, and not so easy to access for someone who is not that much into screaming, heavy guitars etc. 'Start Something' is much more cheerfull and, yeah, you can say more pop. The general topic of the lyrics is what the album title says: Start something, don't let yourself go, do something with the life and time your given. Around that message you'll find about an hour of music, expressing it in different ways.
The direction is clearly set: Forward. The pace is good, a little step on the gas here ('To hell we ride', 'Burn Burn'), medium where it suits ('Last Train Home', 'Last Summer') or mellow ('Sway', Goodbye tonight'). The orientation is more towards rock, and not as it was earlier towards metal/nu-metal. That is clear from the first song forward. There is not much that reminds of 'TFSoP', only maybe 'Start Something' or 'We are Godzilla, you're Japan' show some slight signs of the earlier heavieness. But not anywhere near that. That again, that does not have to be a bad thing, he" ;)
What I really like about the album:
IMO, this record is a progress for the band. Many see it different, 'cause they like the heavier stuff more. Or have something against it that the band appears on MTV sometimes. Whatever. The guitar work is nice, though you have to listen quite hard sometimes to really realise it. Overall, the music got more melodic, and the guy doing the samples and keys is much better integrated into the whole picture. No more samples thrown somewhere into a song. He adds string arrangements or piano parts as background to the songs, and it suits it more then well. The vocals got better as well, much better singing voice. The last songs 'Sway' might remind one of Mike Patton in a way. Overall, I like it.
What was not so good:
Still, there are some downsides. The progressive element the older pieces had is almost completely lost. This music and record is done well, but not that unique. When I heard songs of 'TFSoP', I could instantly tell it's the prophets, as the guitar sound and overall construction of the songs was quite a piece on it's own. Currently, there is just a lot music of the likes of 'Start something' out there. Plus, the singles line up as almost one line. Last Train Home, Make a move, Burn Burn, and some tracks later Last Summer. Those are among the 'better' songs on the album, and are almost completely blown out on the first half of the album. And the middle indeed can seem a bit long sometimes, a little track shift here or there would have made the record a bit better IMO.
To sum it up, this a good piece of music, and fun to listen to. Even with some small flaws, the record is a good progression for the band and it's sound. If you don't have a problem with the fact that a band has some kind of pop appeal to their songs, this might be a worthy CD to pick up. The music is not too mellow, not too hard. Soundtrack for a fun time. Play and enjoy!
My song suggestions:
"Start Something" - Great track, and one of the harder songs. Has an epic touch with the string arrangements in the back. Good stuff
"Sway" - Experimental is not 100% the right word for it. But the touch is there. The vocals are very different to the rest of the album, and the instrumental outro is great.
"Last Summer" - Mellow Rock song. The soundtrack for an ending summer. :)
"Last Train Home" - Catchy, one of the singles. The guitar work on this track is nice. I think it's the most popular song of this album
a solid 3 - 3.5/5 :)