We Still Dream

Chapters

Written by: PP on 06/06/2011 22:24:36

Although a number of bands have attempted to clone the success of Fall Out Boy, only a few have been successful in doing so. Even fewer have been able to take the "Take This To Your Grave"-era where the band still had their feet firmly attached to the ground and get away with it without sounding completely derivative and unoriginal. We Still Dream, a five-piece pop punk band from Jacksonville, Florida, are a rare instance where it's okay to sound note-by-note like their obvious inspiration, because despite the imminent clone vibe emitted by their debut album "Chapters", the songs are just too catchy to resist and ignore for such petty reasons.

Lets take album opener, "Life's An Avalanche...Survive It", for instance. It kicks off with a raw guitar hook, which morphs into a high tempo beat and a loud "let's go!" gang shout, already showcasing more energy and conviction than most other pop punk upstarts. Then you get the fantastic vocals of Dustin Monk, who sounds identical to the old Patrick Stump before he started auto-tuning his vocals around the "Infinity On High" album. Not only is his range impressive, but his choruses are sugar-sweet and instantly catchy; especially "Pull Me To Safety" has potential as a future smash hit single in the vein of "Saturday" (Fall Out Boy). The dynamic melody of this particular song will give you chills during the chorus, and there's little chance you won't be singing along after hearing just the first chorus.

The rest of the album continues in a similar manner. You'll hear bouncy, bright pop punk songs that are pitch-perfect for summery weather, but the band also includes quieter ballads which rely more on an acoustic guitar than a reasonably high tempo. There are also a few A Day To Remember-esque licks where the band dives nose deep into pop-hardcore with generic breakdowns, which could have been avoided for a more coherent and cliche free listen. Fortunately these are in the minority, and most songs revolve around the laid-back, un-trendy pop punk sound of "Take This To Your Grave". There are a few songs that go overkill on the happy-go-lucky melodies and poppy hooks, but not to the point of annoyance.

So why isn't "Chapters" the new benchmark of what to expect from pop punk albums? Well, the answer is simple, really. It sounds so much like Fall Out Boy meets Hit The Lights with slight New Found Glory overtones that it's difficult to love it as much as the originals, if for no other reason than it reminding you of songs like "Calm Before The Storm" too closely. That said, poppy pop punk / power pop doesn't come this solid too often anymore, so "Chapters" is one of the few pop punkers this year you should check out if you've ever been a fan of any of the bands mentioned in this review.

Download: Pull Me To Safety, This Is Home, Chapters
For the fans of: old Fall Out Boy, Hit The Lights, New Found Glory, Get Set Radio
Listen: Myspace

Release date 01.03.2011
Eulogy Records

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