Review Summary: Issues have found stability, and it is oh so sweet.
Despite Issues obvious flaws, they still are at the forefront of 'the scene'. They've got everything going for them: Tyler Carter. a singer as charismatic as Jonny Craig, a screamer who can do his job just a little above average, and riffing that sounds catchy and dificult. They even infuse their genre with other genres! They're not like the others!
They kind of are. Through all of the production and 'interesting' djent riffs, you see a band who pretty much followed the script line for line on how to create a successful album. Their self-titled LP had hit or miss tracks, and their 'Black Diamonds' EP suffered from being too boring and having no replay value. So what's the next logical step" To release an acoustic EP. But as obvious a move at making more money as it is, it somehow recreates some of the songs that plagued their two releases and make them, well, good.
Opener and single for the album 'Hooligans' introduces the listener to the redefined Issues experience: laid-back, chill and, well, fun. The subtle keys and back-track add to the power of Carter's vocals. Lacking the over-production found at times on their self-titled, he is given free reign throughout, allowing the album to have a sense of freedom. Despite the lyrics not really transitioning well into acoustic form, the outcome far outweighs this. Follow-up track 'Disappear' is infused with emotion and power, and comes across as a truly great song, filled to the brim with the charisma emitting from Tyler's performance, once again brought along with the delicate string and beat arrangements.
Even Issues less-than-great songs, such as 'King Of Amarillo' and 'Princeton Ave' are infused with new life, allowing them to be the more memorable tracks. Once again, despite the lyrical content of the former, the performance far outweighs this problem, with both songs being brought along with piano and acoustic guitars. Interval track 'Diamond Dreams', although unneeded, provides a nice little reprieve from the rest of the album, and includes a sample of 'Her Monologue' which Tyler provides a soaring rendition of.
The final songs, 'Tears', 'Never Lose Your Flames' and 'The Worst Of Them' provide a satisfying tail-end to the album. 'Tears', led only by a piano and Carter along with 'Nyro' coming along to repeat her performance, and the song is the better for it. Both vocalists are given free reign, and bounce off of each other effortlessly. 'Never Lose Your Flames', a guitar-led track, once again having two vocalists (Carter and the whole of Neck Deep) allows for a catchy and memorable performance, especially from Neck Deep vocalist Ben Barlow, nearly outdoing Carter himself. Final track 'The Worst Of Them', although one of the better tracks from their debut EP, finds itself redone with strings and drums, and is the better for it. Carter puts a massive amount of emotion in, allowing for it to be one of the best tracks from the EP.
Issues, despite all of the signs of being a band in crisis, have come out and created an EP that surprises throughout. Taking more than a few keys from Hands Like Houses' 'Reimagine' EP a couple of months back, they find themselves breathing new life into the less than impressive song list. Issues have found stability, and it is oh so sweet.
The Best Four
1. Never Lose Your Flames
4. King Of Amarillo