Hundred Reasons haven't exactly had the most pleasant of journeys to the mainstream of British rock. After being swept by the wave of harsher post-hardcore with the likes of Violent Delight and Hell Is For Heroes in 2002, they released debut album Ideas Above Our Station
to critical acclaim. It reached number 6 in the British album charts, and cemented them as one of the UK's leading young bands of the time. That stay was short-lived however, when they were dropped in 2004 by Columbia Records after a disappointing turnout for second album Shatterproof Is Not A Challenge
. Alas, 2 years on from the drama, they have returned with a new album, new label and most importantly a new sound.
You can tell from opener "Broken Hands" that they are leaning towards a much heavier sound now. The guitars sound perfectly loud and polished, and the haunting verses match Colin's vocals. The song is very infectious as well, with no real chorus and melodic verses made up of drumming and low-volume guitars. This is followed by the single, "Kill Your Own". A grinding tune with hints of the grunge/metal that filled the airwaves in 2000. Short bursts of distorted guitar and harsh vocals add to the catchiness of this song. It isn't radio-friendly by any means, but it's melodic and sounds great. This is a very similar pattern on this record. It's short and sweet, but there's a lot of melody and rock elements in the 11 songs. However, if you are looking for the solo side of music, I'd stay clear of this album. There are some shorter solos and licks, but in general, Hundred Reasons aren't that kind of band. But they don't need solos when the music is this good.
That's not to say there's no variety though. I'd say that's a huge mistake when describing this, as Hundred Reasons have managed to make each song sound different from the last, without straying too far outside their boundries for music. It takes turns in songs like "The Chance", which has an Incubus feeling with slower guitar riffs and calm drums, to "Live Fast, Die Ugly", a 2-and-a-half minute complete hardcore marathon with devilish screams and dark riffs, to "This Mess", the slowest song on the album and an electric ballad with gritty sound and great lyrics. The band have certainly gone for a broader route than Shatterproof
, and I think it's helped them. The production of the album only adds to the way it sounds, and it brings out the best in the instruments. The lead guitar sounds like complete crap at sometimes, but put against the rhythm and the other instruments, it gives it that roughness that made their debut so likeable. I suppose it's a sweet charm that their second album desperately needed.
Kill Your Own
is the band's sophomore album that never was. It's fresh and new, while staying familiar to the fans. I admit that only having 11 songs is a little disappointing, but I'd rather this than 14 boring songs sounding the same. You can tell that in the 4 years between this and when they were signed, they have learnt a few tricks and used them to perfection on this album. Colin's time spent with hardcore side-project The Lucky Nine is clearly evident on some of the harder songs on this album, with his vocals progressing and ranging so widely on here. I'd say this is the rebirth of Hundred Reasons, but that seems like sort of a stigma. What I will say is that they have created one hell of a rock record, ringing with bass and melody that will stick with fans of the band for a while. With the coverage this band haven't gotten on TV lately, I'd say this is a triumphant return to the rock scene of Britain. This album doesn't disappoint, proving they are gainging more experience on the rhythm side of music.
"Kill Your Own"
"Live Fast, Die Ugly"
[url]http://myspace.com/hundredreasons[/url] (Streamable songs from review: "The Perfect Gift", "The Chance, "Broken Hands" and "Live Fast, Die Ugly")