Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Day To Remember - Homesick (Review)

When Homesick starts up, the first seven seconds seem a bit confusing. Initially, I didn’t think I was listening to Ocala, Florida’s A Day To Remember, but then the double bass kicks-in, along with the band's song-opening breakdown, and the first song, “The Downfall of Us All” was on its way. Waiting almost a year until they finished touring, ADTR recorded their third album in their hometown behind producer Chad Gilbert. Chad seems to have helped give ADTR more direction on this record compared to their previous two records, which adds some meaning to their fun pop hooks and hardcore growls.

Homesick reflects the anxiety surrounding a group of guys who don’t spend much time in their comfort zones. This compilation of songs they created pays respect to their town, revealing every backstreet and alleyway they've traveled down. The sound on each song of Homesick is slightly different on every track. Unlike their previous releases, this album sounds like it was produced and mixed with a lot of care and has a generally uplifting sound throughout the disc.

Their last record, For Those Who Have Heart, was pretty simple and generic when it came to the music, but their ability to be super catchy while bringing fluid breakdowns into the mix snagged them a lot of fans. On their new record they’ve mastered how to now add sincerity to the equation. This newly found ability is best shown in “Have Faith in Me”. It’s light at first but then picks up during the chorus and carries on an upbeat melody until the end of the track.

ADTR still managed to keep their textbook pop-hardcore tools honed. The breakdown at the end of "I'm Made Of Wax, Larry, What Are You Made Of?", the sing-scream exchanges, and the “tit-tat” of the drums on the track “Homesick” -- they're patented ADTR moments. ADTR has a magic touch that allows them to pull off this seemingly generic form of music where the average band coming up in the music scene would most likely flop.

On Homesick, there are instantly three or four singles or possible singles that could easily make radio play. “The Downfall of Us All”, “I'm Made Of Wax, Larry, What Are You Made Of?”, “NJ Legion Iced Tea”, and “Have Faith In Me,” to name a few, are instantly catchy and poppy. The only things that would probably need to be toned down for mass consumption would be some of the screaming, but overall the album seems to be ready for mainstream superstardom.

ADTR has greatly improved the delivery of their music, but the overall sound is pretty much the same. With better production and newer content in their lyrics, Homesick is a step up from their last release. However, if you disliked For Those Who Have Heart, don’t expect to enjoy Homesick without a little effort. Cliché song structures aside, Homesick really is a good album. ADTR is improving as a group, and it shows on this album.

Rating: 4/5
Listen to A Day To Remember here.

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