Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, DEN - 21/4
A Will Away
Written by: TL on 16/04/2017 12:27:41
Connecticut quartet A Will Away is a band that's had more and more fans gushing over them on twitter seemingly every single day for the last year if not longer, ever more so after the recent release of their debut full-length "Here Again". And it makes sense because at a glance the band's contemplative pop-punk/emo mixture has some obvious qualities clearly shining from it. There's richness and atmosphere beyond the usual in the guitar playing in their genre of music, often going for a more thoughtful soundscape than the pop-punk norm, mainly reminiscent of styles previously heard from Elder Brother or Transit.
Mix in some recognisable, slightly toasty lead vocals and you get a recognisable and charming sound, which the band leans back and forth between different moods. Starting on a high, the title track opens as the album's strongest song, with an exhilarating chorus that feels like getting on your feet on a surfboard or riding your bike unaided for the first time. The exhilaration is immediately contrasted, however, with the bittersweet sneer of "Pay Raise", and generally these two form infectious, yet opposite ends of the spectrum of mood swings that A Will Away has the capacity for, which fits their billing as a young, new pop-punk group.
Besides the band's obvious merits, however, their newness and inexperience have clearly also posed some traditional debut album challenges that they haven't quite handled with the elegance that one could hope for. With very few of the thirteen songs making it past three minutes in length, things feel like they're in a bit of a rush, which doesn't add up with the impression that this is a band with detailed lyrics that they hope for you to listen to. Both the basic rhythms and the progressions of the song structures often race ahead at a driving pace, barely letting you catch enough breath to keep up with what's being sung, and while the richness of the band's guitar playing is a strength of theirs, the soundscape gets to feeling a bit crowded and overproduced here and there.
This is not a complete surprise, because for bands in general, the debut album is seen as the make or break bid at emerging as a viable, successful act on one's scene of choice, and, today's music scene considered, it takes more confidence than most bands have to make debut albums that don't sound somewhat anxious about the attention spans of the audience they're trying to find. It harms A Will Away's firstborn, however, because there seem to be thoughts in their songwriting that could do more with some air around them, and dynamics that would have stronger impact with more elaborate build-ups. Like a band playing a show they're nervous about, the record races to its end a bit too swiftly, and while you as a listener easily make out some of the qualities the group has, you also clearly sense that these can come out even better, if the band grows a bit more comfortable in their skin and less worried about whether they can hold our attention all the way to the point or not.
Download: Here Again, Pay Raise
For The Fans Of: Elder Brother; You, Me And Everyone We Know; Stickup Kid
Release date 03.03.2017
Triple Crown Records