Review Summary: Quietdrive return in fine form, showing off improved playing skills while delivering catchy songs as they always have.
Quietdrive entered the mainstream pop punk market in 2006 with their debut album, When All That’s Left is You
, which delivered some great singles such as “Rise from the Ashes” and (perhaps the most well-known song from the album) “Time After Time”, originally done by Cyndi Lauper. The latter made it onto charts like the US Hot 100 and US Pop 100, and appeared in the movies John Tucker Must Die
, and Prom Night
. The former appeared on the soundtrack of EA Sports NHL ‘07
. Quietdrive then released its sophomore album, Deliverance
, with the independent Militia Group. Close Your Eyes
, although not an LP, is the band’s second release since their departure from Epic Records.
Close Your Eyes
is a great improvement from Deliverance
. Quietdrive returns in fine form and shows improved skills and, at times, heavier influence. Close Your Eyes
begins on a strong note that the band maintains during the course of the EP. Without hesitation, the first track “Jessica” kicks in with a guitar riff accompanied by a vigorous drum beat and electric guitars, which are obviously joined later by the vocals. The song proves to have a great and memorable chorus - something that Quietdrive has always been good at delivering - which will undoubtedly get stuck in a head or two. The song is energetic from beginning to end; although there is a slight pause after the bridge, it is not long enough to cool the song down by any means. The next track, “Just My Heart” (which is a definite favourite), is just as energetic, even though it starts off on a softer note. The next two songs, “Call Me Up” and “It’s a Shame” have more pop-influenced intros than the first two, but their energy picks up as soon as the guitars, bass and drums kick in. “It’s a Shame”, in particular, boasts an incredible, brisk instrumental that shows off the musicianship of the band members (and makes for great air-guitar… not that anyone asked).
The band then incorporates the acoustic guitar into the next two songs. Both “Lottery” and “Into the Ocean” have great acoustic intros, but whereas “Lottery” picks up and ends on a high note, “Into the Ocean” picks up then softens down, ending in the same way it began. Although the latter is more ballad-y than the rest of the songs, it does not dampen the mood in any way. The final track, “What a Life”, proves to be the most unique. For one, it is the only song that has a piano intro or uses the piano as a main instrument. Secondly, the song’s bridge features a group of children singing, which - unless I am wrong - is something Quietdrive has never done before.
There are several aspects that make Close Your Eyes
so pleasurable. It is well-produced and is of excellent standard, especially for an independent release. The instruments are all balanced and accompany each other well; you can hear each instrument clearly as no one instrument overpowers the other. It is also pleasing to hear that the band members’ playing skills have improved, as is demonstrated in the previously mentioned “It’s a Shame” instrumental. Kevin Truckenmiller, the vocalist, is no exception and displays, yet again, his remarkable vocal abilities. He is able to control his voice skilfully, belting out powerful choruses one moment then singing softer verses the next. Not only that, but he also has a great vocal range. There are several moments where I - as a female, mind you - was not able to reach Truckenmiller’s high notes while singing along.
It is also satisfying to see a variation of lyrical content. Although most of the songs seem to be about love and relationships (which I suppose would be the only complaint regarding the EP, though not a significant one since the lyrics are well-written), not all of them have that theme; the last song in particular has a refreshing take on the current state of the world. The great thing about it is that it is written as a narrative that does not come off as preachy. Having a group of children (who are the epitome of innocence) sing on the song is a nice touch that sends its message across.
Overall, Close Your Eyes
is a great effort that shows off how the band has grown. Older fans of the band will appreciate this effort, and new listeners may find themselves nodding and even humming along with the songs. Quietdrive took a step in a great direction, which they will hopefully continue to follow in their following release.