This L.A. based band made quite a splash with their debut album based on the hit single “Sometime Around Midnight”. That was a grand and emotional song, and I don’t think the rest of the album quite matched the intensity and scope that song achieved. It was almost as though that song didn’t belong on that album.
The band has now released their sophomore effort: All At Once. Now this is the album that “Sometime Around Midnight” should have been on and it would’ve blended in seamlessly. If the debut seemed a little unfocused in the way of musical style, this album is the band at its most focused. This album is a much bigger and more polished affair. These guys no longer sound like the indie band that could, but more like the stadium band that can.
Lead singer Mikel Jollett has a knack for writing some of the most intelligent and heartfelt lyrics I’ve heard in a long time. You feel like you're reading someone's diary, but weren't given permission to do so. Take a listen to “The Graveyard Near The House” and tell me that’s not one of the greatest love songs ever written. “...because it’s better to love whether you win or lose or die.” Brilliant stuff.
The lead single “Changing” is as catchy as they come and hooked me on these guys straight away. Listening to “Welcome To Your Wedding Day” at first sounds like a real upbeat song for that perfect day. Paying close attention to the lyrics however, and the song takes on a whole new meaning. This album covers all the bases from foot stomping rockers to slow building behemoths that finally hit you like “feral waves to your mind”.
These guys are not changing the face of music, and the bands that influenced them can be clearly heard in a lot of their songs. Some songs sound eerily familiar because of that, and that’s not a bad thing. It’s like watching your favourite 80’s movie again. Sure, you’ve seen it before and you know all the words, but it sure is good to watch it again.
This is the best release of 2011 so far. I haven’t heard a band that can convey mood and emotion quite like these guys, and I look forward to hearing more. Highly recommended.