Review Summary: I’m not who I used to be
What’s in a name change? Does it signal a metaphorical rebirth of sorts? A fresh start? For Canadian emo rock outfit Locket, formerly known as Safe to Say, the cliché metaphors of transformation may not be enough to encompass the subtleties of their name change. Firstly, all band members remain the same. Secondly, while All Out is certainly a step up from their previous works in aspects such as songwriting and lyrics, it sounds more like a natural progression of 2016’s Down in the Dark than a major divergence. Singer/guitarist Brad Garcia sums up Locket’s sound well, as he describes it as, “something that feels both familiar yet new”.
Album opener "Out of Sight" fits this short but broad summation of the band’s new style quite well. Opening with a beautiful vocal melody over a light guitar passage, the song quickly
progresses to a strong chorus reminiscent of the energetic pop-punk found on the bands’ earlier material. However, instead of continuing with a louder bridge, the band expertly tones the dynamics back down before exploding into the chorus for a second time. This use of dynamic range not only makes the chorus hit twice as hard, it also combines with Garcia’s lyrics to make a truly emotional track worthy of multiple listens. Locket has managed to combine the strongest parts of both pop-punk and emo fairly seamlessly. While the band’s previous works showed this tendency to stray from a single style, their propensity to mix things up has never sounded as good, or been used as effectively as it has here.
The mixture of styles and dynamics continues throughout the album, showing up in the excellent instrumental work of "Lighten Up", where the guitars meander from melodic lead passages to exciting riffs, trading off with the rhythm section that keeps a driving tempo during both heavy and lighter sections. This track shows off the superb chemistry between the band’s four members: a chemistry that has been retained from their previous iteration while also growing even more on this release.
"Other People" continues this duality of preservation and improvement, containing some of the quietest and loudest sections the band has written to date. On previous releases, these parts would likely become their own tracks; however, now Locket combines them to create a uniquely intriguing amalgamation that progresses excellently. This song shows off another strength carried over from the Safe to Say days, the vocals. Garcia is equally at home delivering quiet verses with slight inflections that easily be at home on a bedroom pop record, and melodic nearly shouted choruses found in many of the band’s previous post-punk pieces. His voice not only suits the music perfectly, but stands out from contemporaries with its uniquely pleasing style.
The latter part of this album truly delivers some of the band’s best songs to date, as they stray further from genre lines in hard hitting tracks like the title track, "All Out". From the back end of this album, it is clear Locket is truly making the music they want to make, and the album is better off for it. While this hodgepodge of sounds and styles makes for a somewhat confusing album, this uniqueness, combined with the brevity of the project, makes it an overall interesting listen. With All Out, Locket has crafted an excellent alternative rock album that stands out from its peers. What is in a name change? For Locket it’s the freedom to do what they want, even if that means retaining some of the past.