Review Summary: While the name of the album is generic, the music certainly is not.
Pop-punk is a genre that is either loved or hated by fans of it's root genres which include hardcore, pop, and punk (mostly). I am rather new to the genre myself and have never really found myself immersed in it, although I have always been compelled to check out certain contenders in the genre because of the fast pace of the music and the high levels of energy it creates, but never really walked away extremely satisfied. Close Your Eyes, who hail from Abilene Texas, are the needle in the haystack when it comes to pop-punk music. There is an entire sea full of bands with similar intentions and means of execution but there are none that do it quite like Close Your Eyes. It's almost unfair so lock them in as Pop-punk but it seems to be the genre of best fit for them.
To start off, I'll state that their vocalist, Shane Raymond, while not carrying the band entirely by any means, is the backbone that makes this band able to stand tall above the rest of the bands that give you a rather "blah" reaction. He doesn't have that "stuffy-nosed-kid" voice that seems to be persistent in the genre. Instead, he had an incredibly diverse range of vocal techniques from beautiful melodic singing to ear piercing screams. At the core, his lyrics are mostly about religious views which I personally can't relate to. But what makes these songs so uplifting and inspiring is that the lyrics can be molded to fit just about anything in your own life, which gives you an extreme feeling of comfort while listening to his words. Other religious bands flaunt their views and shove them in your face and lack that ability to create your own meanings and relation to their music.
A common issue in music with such a distinct sound is that all the songs on a particular album tend to bleed together making it difficult to differentiate between them. This causes listeners to quickly lose interest because as their listening to what seems like a 40 minute song, there is nothing new to keep them wanting more. Well once again, Close Your Eyes have overcome that issue as well for the most part. Just about every song on the album has something memorable in it whether its a catchy intro, chorus, crushing breakdown, gang chant climax etc. Songs such as "Song For The Broken" create a deep and honestly beautiful feel with its sing-a-long chorus, while songs such as "Friends Are Friends Forever" are remembered by the climactic breakdown about 2/3 of the way through.
On the instrumental aspect, these guys don't really play anything that showcases exceptional skill but rather focus on the listen-ability of each song. They are not without talent however. There are some good melodic riffs like in the song "Digging Graves" that are catchy and grab your attention while the drummers skills are best heard on the song "The Body", which shows his ability to quickly change up his playing style. Overall, they prove that music doesn't need to be out of this world with complexity to be effective and they don't shove their skills down your throats with music that would look like an alien language on paper.
The only faults I can find in this album are that their opening and closing songs are a little weak. The opening song "A Proclamation" doesn't have a whole lot to offer as far as originality goes and just seems to flow a little awkwardly. The closing song "Arms Raised" while good, could've been a lot stronger and really sealed the album with a brilliant ending. That's about it. I can't think of any logical reason for fans of similar music to not have these guys on their radar. If your looking for positive themed, energetic music that will undoubtedly leave you in a good mood, then "We Will Overcome" is about as satisfying as it gets.