A Loss For Words
The Kids Can't Lose



by pmmets07 USER (36 Reviews)
September 5th, 2010 | 15 replies

Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A Loss for Words, while not displaying any truly ground-breaking material, are not your run-of-the-mill pop punk band.

Massachusetts pop punkers, A Loss for Words, come out swinging with their first full length LP titled The Kids Can’t Lose which is a much more interesting listen than one might assume. The band strays from typical, upbeat and fast-paced vocals about juvenile problems (girls) that are present in most pop punk, but they still manage to include all of the necessary elements to keep any fan of the genre engaged.

The first stand-out factor that AL4W has going for them is their well-above-average vocalist, Matt Arsenault. The heart in his voice is undeniable, and he crafts some amazingly catchy vocal melodies often backed with harmonies on behalf of bassist Mike Adams as well as occasional gang chants. AL4W, unlike most pop punk, utilizes minor tonalities frequently in their vocals as well as instrumentation, which has at times caused the band to be labeled as “post-hardcore”. Guitarists on the album Marc Dangora and Nevada Smith, for the most part, rely on power chords and generally uninteresting lead lines, but the style works for the music, and there are times when guitar is given the spotlight (e.g. the solo in The Promises You Keep (Burn This Bridge). The album is well produced, with good balance on the bass to give the band a full sound, and the drumming by Jack McHugh is par for the course, yet delivers everything you would expect on a pop punk record.

The first track, Stamp of Approval, opens up with powerful gang-style vocals that warn “Don’t let the truth misguide you, you’ll never know our true intentions.” The track then continues on and contains one of the better choruses on the record as well as a bridge with yelled vocals (that I wouldn’t quite consider to be screaming, but are effective nonetheless). Lyrically, the album doesn’t necessarily stand out amongst its peers, but the vocals never fail to be catchy and still somewhat inspirational, as they should be in the genre.

The main issue I have with the album is that so many of the songs seem to blend together, and while each has its moments, they are not strong enough to make each and every track stand out. After the first track of the album, songs two through four were all very average, including the single Hold Your Breath which is a bit slower and more chorus driven, but bland nonetheless.

Certain points on the album, however, exhibit the true potential of AL4W, where their songwriting seems as focused as ever, such as in Wasted Youth which adds a slide guitar throughout the infectiously catchy chorus that is without a doubt my favorite moment on the album. Other stand out tracks include Mount St. Joseph which is an outstandingly emotional acoustic track, and also the lyrical pinnacle of the album with heartfelt lines such as “It was so damn hard to watch, as heaven and hell held you down like anchors, and your demons finally lulled you back to sleep.” Heavy Lies the Crown is another strong point on the album, again featuring a fun chorus in which Arsenault asks “Are we naïve enough to think that we can change the world?”

The album seems a bit longer than it has to be, consisting of twelve songs being three to four minutes each, and if AL4W could have parted with a few filler tracks, it would overall be a bit more solid. Despite this, the album has everything you would expect in a pop punk album, and sometimes much more; certain tracks will remind you, “this band has potential”, and others will leave you longing for more, but I would definitely recommend this as an album that fans of the genre should listen to at least once.

Recommended Tracks: Stamp of Approval, Mount St. Joseph, Heavy Lies the Crown, Wasted Youth

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user ratings (91)

Comments:Add a Comment 
September 6th 2010


Album Rating: 3.0

this album didn't have a review. and uh now it does

October 15th 2010


Here's a comment; now you're relevant!

October 15th 2010


pretty nice review...

pointers...(take with grain of salt, i dont write for the site myself.)

i generally dont care for first person in reviews unless it serves a purpose. makes a point etc.

this is because i want to be thinking about the album and the band/artist and not so much about you.

reviews should avoid what i like to call skim factor. you can afford no fluff. allmusic does the best about this. this is because if the album is not something im particularly interested in im not going to want every detail, just the main points so i know what its about...

if your going to write a detail write up one, the album must warrant this, ie its that good. and your review must be as inspired as the music is.

October 15th 2010


Album Rating: 3.0

That's good advice. I think it would be way easier to review an album i've 5'd. But yeah I get what you mean.

Thanks for reading it dude!

October 15th 2010


" I think it would be way easier to review an album i've 5'd."

thats because bad music is not that interesting, and reading about it is even less interesting...generally

October 15th 2010


decent review. never even heard of these guys though.

October 15th 2010


Album Rating: 3.0

i'd say they're worth checking out, if you like the genre. simple as that

March 2nd 2011


Album Rating: 4.0

Well written review. I definitely agree with the recommended tracks. I haven't really listened to the album enough times yet to give it a definite rating, but at the moment it's hovering around a 3.5 for me. The lyrics are kind of generic and the leads are fairly uninspiring, but the album as a whole meshes together quite well.

May 23rd 2011


seeing these guys in two days time cant wait.

May 26th 2011


see these guys live if you get the chance don't skip on it they are great dudes who play hard honest pop-punk.

June 7th 2011


Album Rating: 4.0

I didn't notice you reviewed this. Album/band rule hard.

June 11th 2011


hold your breath should be one of the recommended tracks it's their best song in my opinion. also, i don't agree when you say everything blends with each other, i can easily tell the difference between each track on this album. stamp of approval is an upbeat anthem, mount st. joseph is an acoustic song about their friends who died, and hold your breath is a song about love. just saying, good review otherwise.

January 19th 2012


Album Rating: 3.0

this band honestly bores the shit out of me now.

December 27th 2012


Album Rating: 3.5

Following 2 promising EPs, Massachusetts pop-punkers A Loss For Words deliver a satisfying - if unimaginative - debut LP in 'The Kids Can't Lose'. Finding a nice blend between their hooky & mildly aggressive sides, the quintet seem more musically formed than many of their peers, with the dual guitar attack often impressing. While many tracks begin too nondescriptly, they are given time to work into a nice groove & show off Matt Arsenault's versatile vocals... This is especially the case on the album's more melodic 2nd half, making this LP a deceptive grower. Recommended Tracks: Stamp of Approval, Heavy Lies The Crown, Hot Hand in a Dice Game & The Promises You Keep.

March 22nd 2013


Album Rating: 4.5

I disagree with your review, but nevertheless it was very. Well written, pos.

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