Exclusive: Life On The Sideline EP announcement, music video premiere

Since releasing Honesty Is A Dying Breed two years ago, Life On The Sideline has remained active on the road and is now ready to unveil its upcoming EP, Never Settle. To kick things off, we're premiering the music video for the band's new single, "Echo", which tells the sad story of a young girl reminiscing times spent with her deceased partner. While not a pop punk song per se, it's as catchy as one with an infectious chorus that you'll inevitably get stuck in your head. The band's sound could be compared to that of Transit's and The Early November's. Fans can pre-order the EP on iTunes and CD here, before it's released on June 7th. […]

Friday, February 7, 2014

Review: Above The Underground - "Sonder"

Release InfoAbove The Underground - Sonder
Release Date: February 17th, 2013
Record Label: Self-released
Pre-order: Digital

Sonder is the newest release and debut full-length record from UK pop punk outfit Above The Underground. The album sports some beautiful cover artwork and ten songs permeating with nostalgia and emotion. This is by far and away the best release from the band and it’s nice to see how much the band has grown and matured as song writers from their split with On My Honor and their well-received EP, Anchors.

The album starts with the short, thirty-second “Prologue”, which features some calm-before-the storm acoustic guitar riffing. This seamlessly flows into the first full track, “Return To Point Pleasant”, which features pop punk standard octave guitar riffs and a surprisingly deep rhythmic driving force in the bass and rhythm guitars. Vocally, the band is on top of things showing vast improvements in both lyrics and melody writing along with showcasing improved singing ability. The song ends with a stellar outro complete with a fantastic drum beat, some refreshing clean guitar, and the repeated lyrics, “So blame someone else”. The song is catchy, relatable, and easy to listen to and truly sets the tone for the rest of the record.

The next song, “Lavender Town Syndrome”, follows suit with catchy lyrics, choruses, and driving drums, but also featuring a grandiose bridge section and our first taste of gang vocals on the record. It also transition fluidly into the next tune, which is always a nice touch on albums. “Weathered” is a short song that really stands out because of the superb guitar riffs featured in the song, which are sure to become crowd favorites.

By the time we reach the mid-point in the album, things are starting to sound the same and blend together. “Cheer Up” becomes the savior of the middle section slump. This interlude is short, but different and beautiful. The only problem is there are lyrics that are completely inaudible underneath the guitars that will have fans searching online for the words. “Not Home” is another song that contains many of the elements in the first half of the record, but it propels the listener into the acoustic guitar, “whoa” lyric driven song, “Shine”. The song is a great escape from the heavily distorted guitars that grace nearly every song of the album and cause some ear fatigue.

The record closes with the tune “Reprise”, which, literally, reprises the intro “Prologue”. No doubt, this song will have some of the best crowd participation gang vocals at live shows. The song itself feels huge as every instrument is making a point to add to the emotional feeling of the song. At only 3:14, the song is relatively average in length, but leaves the listener feeling exhausted.

Above The Underground really hits some high points on this album. This only makes it more disappointing that so many sections of different songs sound or feel similar. I fear, because of this, that many won’t put the time into this record that it deserves. The album really grows on the listener and truly shows what Above the Underground is capable of. Sonder will be the first in a line of great albums to come from this UK group that’s only getting better.

1. Prologue
2. Return To Point Pleasant
3. Lavender Town Syndrome
4. Weathered
5. I Was Never Lost
6. Cheer Up
7. Not Home
8. Shine
9. Bring Me The Sun
10. Reprise

RIYL: The Swellers, Brand New, The Wonder Years
More reviews by Josh Jurss