Last time I heard A Loss For Words, they were doing the poppy motif of punking Motown classics, which were pretty fun and catchy with the Jackson 5 and Temptations being covered. But on a label like Rise, much more is needed. It's sink or swim, and the fans are musical sharks.
The album is not that jacked or amped. It's much more chill and laid back. I thought on Rise, they'd go a bit harder without compromising their older sound. I was wrong. The opening core features "Honeymoon Eyes" and "Pirouette," which are easy-going and mellow; sometimes, a bit too much. Fans of Sugarcult, Yellowcard and Quietdrive may be in for a treat as simplistic pop-punk lines such as "Pray for Rain"'s "The best parts of your life are going to pass you by / I remember the days when we used to take the world" help manipulate the nostalgic feel that such pop-punk breeds. It's very poppy punk.
The tracks really don't test the waters of hardcore but do well to propel lead singer Matt Arsenault into the limelight, while the band focuses on less grit and more melody. This can be risky, especially for those looking for more hard punk out of the album. With the news of Dance Gavin Dance's hiatus, maybe Jon Mess could scoot over and give this album a screamo vibe? You get the feeling that if they went harder, something gold could have been found. Brand New did that pretty well.
"The Lost Cause I Used to Be" proves one of the stand-outs of the record. "We are bitter broken people but at least we keep each other company in a world where we’re trained to disobey" has a nice ring to it as you get used to the pop in your ear, which is all accentuated well with the tale of forlorn romance in "Jetsetter." This proves either a ballad you love, a song that will make you hate it... or a strong test of sobriety. It's very reminiscent of an All Time Low song, "Remembering Sunday," but it reminds that the punk feel is minimal on this here album. The record's mid-section is the most attractive, no pun intended, as the CD's extreme ends never bother to labor onto hard punk. They did test the punk waters a bit though, and did it so well on the vibrant "JMR" and the ever-explosive "No Sanctuary." They broke the album's status quo here and went harder, faster, stronger with finally a punk feel. That feel was short-lived though.
The album isn't that drab, mundane or monotonous but a couple songs get repetitive, musically and lyrically. There's wavering at times and some instability but what is missed the most is that volatile and enigmatic punk feel. Had that been present some more, I think this album would have been rated much higher. It isn't shabby but it was below my expectations. Like their track "Finite" said, "Time is so precious for us all / Do you gauge your life by the fleeting moments that pass us by?" So I end, asking you to give it a go; you just may like what you encounter. For me, next time...make mine more punk!