Archive for the ‘Pop rock’ Category

Sunday marked the tenth anniversary of Fall Out Boy’s classic album From Under the Cork Tree.

We won’t be getting a retrospective tour from the band however, who recently vowed in Rolling Stone to never play their classic albums straight through.

The band has plenty on their plate at the moment in any case, with their 2015 comeback effort American Beauty/American Psycho scaling the charts with an eclectic modern pop sound.

Retro Fall Out Boy.

But what is it that makes From Under the Cork Tree such a touchstone for the band, or at least, for their fans?

It was certainly their breakthrough release, marking their first top ten album and single position in the US charts.

The album captured a band fired up to make the mainstream take notice, but also not ashamed of their pop punk and hardcore roots, which gave the songs a harder-hitting edge.

Lead single Sugar, We’re Goin Down hit #8 on the US and UK charts and also features a mean guitar-slinging breakdown in the bridge. How many other bands could have pulled that off?

Fall Out Boy’s label told the band to scrap the song, citing its wordy lyrics and heavy guitars as being a barrier to radio success.

Thank God the band stuck to their guns. If you’ve ever heard the fans sing back the lyrics to the band live you know who had the right of it.

Later efforts certainly displayed an expanded sound, but with the exception of 2008’s Folie à Deux, the band rarely managed to hit the mark so consistently throughout a full-length.

From Under the Cork Tree managed to stand out from the pop punk pack with a varied palette, but it avoided becoming self-indulgent.

Neal Avron handled production duties with aplomb. The album sounds punchy and in-your-face, capturing the live feel of the band’s performances.

While the band rarely get showy with their musicianship, it’s no secret that Fall Out Boy are all excellent musicians, and great individual input drives the carefully crafted songs on the album.

From Under the Cork Tree was the second album for which bassist Pete Wentz wrote all the lyrics, and it marks the point where the band grew fully into their song-writing abilities.

The lyrics are raw and cut deep, documenting a dark time in Wentz’s life, as evidenced by suicide attempt made shortly after the album was recorded.

We’re unlikely to hear anything like it again from the band, but it’s true that the greatest artists have a tendency never to repeat themselves and their legacy is often for the better because of it.

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US pop rock act Against the Current recently dropped videos for two tracks off their Gravity EP, namely Dreaming Alone and Paralyzed.

The Poughkeepsie, NY trio announced their signing to Fueled by Ramen on March 5.

This led to immediate comparisons to their new labelmates Paramore.

ATC’s heavier moments do bear a passing resemblance to Paramore’s second and third albums, although the younger band is less rooted in post-hardcore and pop punk and sits more closely in pop and indie territory.

Gravity is a six-track EP that builds on the sound established on ATC’s 2014 debut EP Infinity.

The release begins with the title track, a tour de force of pop rock song writing with frontwoman Chrissy Costanza’s high register vocals as the centrepiece.

The opener is followed by a slight lull in the tracklisting with Talk and Dreaming Alone. Talk is catchy but doesn’t stand up well to repeat listens and Dreaming Alone is a ballad that fails to take off.

Paralyzed and Fireproof heat up proceedings at the halfway point of the release, showcasing again the fireworks the band is capable of on their more upbeat numbers.

Both songs feature on-point lyrics from Chrissy, whose powerful voice and personality shine throughout the EP.

Brighter, a piano-led number, closes the EP with a change of pace and shows the band can hit hard with their slower numbers as well as their rockers.

Gravity shows an exciting young band in fine form with some big song-writing chops.

The band are scheduled to make their Fueled By Ramen debut with a full-length in early 2016, and I for one can’t wait to hear how they tackle a longer release.