Review Summary: Selective Hearing has its weak links but they are not significant enough to sever the whole chain.
Our Last Night have always been a band that arouses controversial thoughts in me. On the one hand my metalcore-loving heart convinces me to listen to their music in the hopes to find some powerful riffs and badass breakdowns. But on the other hand my rational-thinking brain realizes that OLN is an alt rock band rather than post-hardcore at this point of time. Still as soon as their new EP 'Selective Hearing' was out I decided to give it a shot. And you know, I'm glad I did.
I'd like to start off by saying that this new record gave me much more than I expected from our beloved cover band. 'Selective Hearing' happened to be the first OLN's album I listened to from start to finish, moreover I listened to it with great pleasure and interest. Their previous works managed to keep the ball rolling for 6-7 tracks but were falling flat right after. And with this effort "the Wentworths and Co." finally found the perfect format to write in having all the dope ideas and creative solutions equally spaced throughout the record.
Musically "Selective Hearing" is much more rock sounding and it shows. Starting from the overwhelming majority of verses and choruses, ending with low-cal mixing that makes breakdowns sound more vegetarian and radio-friendly. However it doesn't mean that the record is bland and tasteless since every song has its own "flavor" and atmosphere. Songs like 'Broken Lives' and 'Caught in the Storm' let you feel this intense sing-along vibes while preparing you for hitting-like-a-freight-train bangers 'Ivory Tower' and 'Ghost in the Machine'. Even breakdowns being more of tribute to history are still able to fill these songs with some extra energy and I cannot help but appreciate it.
Vocals can also be considered as 'Selective Hearing's' strong points but with certain remarks. A slight shift to more elastic alternative sound comparing to jumpy pop-punk gave a vast space for experiments with clean vocals. On this EP Wentworth Bros. sound stronger and better than ever and provide each track with memorable and catchy parts leaving you longing for more. They've been writing music for almost 15 years now and they still don't fail to impress. But things are not that clear concerning extreme vocals. There are screams, they're pretty good, they don't get lost in the mix but that's it. Our Last Night don't have much to show off in that aspect because there are tons of post-hardcore bands who have similar extreme vocals and those on 'Selective Hearing' just lack a bit of singularity and individuality.
And what about lyrics" This is where everything is plain and simple. Lyrics deal with all those generic topics like self-castigation, haters, love, standing for what you believe in and so on but yet they are well written throwing some easy-to-remember rhymes. Altogether it makes lyrics pleasant to read and sing along to. Also I would like to mention 'Free Chemicals' as a great realization of not so new idea of drawing parallels between rebellious character traits and free radicals — props to OLN.
With that being said, 'Selective Hearing' is not a perfect album but it's one of the Our Last Night's strongest releases to date. It has its weak links but they are not significant enough to sever the whole chain.