It's been about three years since Allister's debut cd, and they got themselves a pretty decently sized fan base with it, including me. I immensely enjoyed "Dead Ends And Girlfriends", and for a long time have been giving it heavy rotation. It was fast, catchy, and satisfying, like any good pop-punk cd should be. The songs were tight, and featured had some pretty damn good hooks with them. Even at an overlong 16 tracks, it still remained interesting throughout its running length. Midway through the recording of their sophomore LP, "Last Stop Suburbia", Allister lost one of their main guitar players and original founders. After being quickly replaced, the band finished up the cd and Drive-Thru started to hype it like a broken record.
I really liked the originals of "Somewhere Down In Fullerton" and "Stuck", which were both slated to be on the cd, so I was definitely looking forward to this release. Within the next few weeks, the song "Overrated" was put up on mp3.com. After listening to it a half a dozen times, I found myself confused and a little upset. The song was extremely poppy, and the band sounded like Simple Plan and/or Good Charlotte. I didn't think much of it, thinking it was probably just one song, and the rest of the cd wouldn't suffer. Now, after listening to the full cd about a half a dozen times, I'm still confused and quite a bit disappointed. The fast catchy Allister sound is now gone, and now we have an extremely popped out, clichéd Allister. Aside from a few standout tracks, the cd as a whole is disappointingly forgettable. Its overproduced, its extremely radio friendly, and it lacks a lot of substance. The band must have been listening to way too much Blink or New Found Glory when they wrote it, and because of this new overly poppy sound, they really suffer. As a whole, the disc just doesn't deliver, and once you finish the disc, it's so forgettable, that it seems that you didn't listen to it at all.
The disc starts out with "Scratch", which is an interesting opener, but since it sounds so much like a standard pop/punk song, its really doesn't have too much of a hook with it. The next three tracks, "Radio Player", "Flypaper" and "Overrated" all sound like they were written for a radio station in the sense that they are ridiculously poppy and offer little new for the listener (in fairness however, Overrated does have interesting lyrics that make you think of something). Track 5, "Balance" is the first song on the disc that I actually enjoyed. It's an energetic and catchy track that actually sounds like Allister's older stuff. Track 6, "The One That Got Away" is okay, it's a faster track that's reminiscent of a Green Day type sound, but it's pretty forgettable because you might as well listen to Green Day. "Racecars" is another slow, poppy track along with tracks 2-4. "Matchsticks" is next, and its pretty good, like "Balance" it sounds like their older stuff. "Camouflage" is track 9, and this would be a really good song if their second vocalist didn't sound so much like Tom Delonge from Blink, it really brings it down, but its still an interesting song. "Don't Think Twice" is next, and it's another overly poppy radio friendly song that this disc is plagued with. "Somewhere Down In Fullerton" is next, and it's a really good song, ever since the original came out, it's been one of my favorite Allister songs. "Westbound" comes after, and its a fast and energetic track that's pretty good, but mostly forgettable. "Know it All" is track 13, and its got that Green Day type sound again, and again, its pretty forgettable. "Stuck" is track 14, and this song got absolutely destroyed with production. The original one sounds a lot better. "Waiting For You" is next, and you can add it into the bunch of slow radio songs. "None of My Friends Are Punks" is track 16, and its like 40 something seconds long, and we're back to the Green Day wannabe sound. The hidden track is a mildly amusing track about Christmas, but its kinda dumb, and does nothing for the disc.
As a whole, I was pretty disappointed with the way this cd turned out. I felt that the band could have made it a lot better if they hadn't had taken that turn down radio friendly lane. Those songs really drag the cd down and with all these radio friendly pop/punk bands flooding the scene, it's a real shame to see Allister jump into the mix. The few songs that stand out are really good, mainly "Balance" and "Fullerton", and if they had continued the disc in the vein of those songs, they would have had another winner under their belts. I'd take "Dead Ends" any day over this one, and I hope that their next disc is a bit more like their older and faster style. They sounded a lot better before.