Review Summary: When All That’s Left Is You is a very consistent debut album that is only let down because it has all been done before.
Quietdrive are an American pop-punk band based in Minneapolis. “When All That's Left Is You” is their debut LP, and combines generic pop with alternative rock to create a widely appealing album full of blissful pop anthems with a bite. Although being released in 2006, most of the songs had been put together beforehand, with six of the ten tracks appearing in an earlier EP. This contributes to the professional design and structure of the album, which belies the band’s years.
All through the album you will be subject to many a catchy chorus and although the general song structure (verse, chorus, verse, chorus, chorus) differs very little throughout the tracks, the band show enough diversity in their music to prevent this system from failing, and to keep the listeners attention at all times. “Rise From The Ashes” is a great opening track, and debatable the best song on the album. The sheer energy and the poetic lyrics, along with the catchy hooks and sing-along chorus are all arranged in perfect harmony, and the song succeeds in getting attention, setting the rest of the album up brilliantly. In fact, each one of the first six songs are great, with all the songs being extremely melodic and highly emotional. “Get Up” continues the excellent start to the record in a completely different vein to the opener. It is possibly the most emotionally driven song on the album with a marvelously sung chorus and gorgeous riff all the way through.
The second half of the album continues the trend of the first, extremely likable, catchy tunes that are consistent only in their quality. However this half of the album seems to focus more on the pop aspect of the band’s music, with more emphasis on the poppy piano lines, and lead singer Kevin Truckenmiller’s vocals seem slightly less edgy than on the first five tracks. “I Lie Awake” demonstrates this subtle change perfectly. With a brilliant chorus and beautiful vocals all the way through, this song is the vocal highlight of the album, with Truckenmiller demonstrating his superb talent. “Time After Time”, a cover of the Cyndi Lauper song is another late highlight, and a great song on its own. However it seems misplaced in the album, and should really have been the closer.
Throughout, the music complements itself perfectly; guitars, pianos, drums and even violins, added to the beautifully crisp vocalization of Truckenmiller make for a musical feast, giving off a tender yet powerful aura. Although the quality drops slightly after the first two songs, the rest of the album is consistently good, with no real weak tracks so to speak of. In fact, the only real negative that can be taken from this album is that it is so short. Clocking in at just over half an hour, this album makes sure it doesn’t outstay its welcome, but in doing so seems to end prematurely, and on a down note with “Both Ways” which, while a good track, isn’t a memorable enough closer to do the album enough justice.
Quietdrive’s “When All That's Left Is You” is simply a fun album, and as perfect as a guilty pleasure can get. While not breaking any boundaries, this semi-generic rock album will deliver more pleasure than one would think, and is certainly not one to be overlooked. For fans of pop, this is an overlooked gem – although don’t expect anything revolutionary if you are less fond of the genre, as everything here has been done before.
Rise From The Ashes
Time After Time
Overall 4.0 Excellent