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Much the Same - Survive (Cover Artwork)

Much the Same

Much the Same: SurviveSurvive (2006)
Nitro Records

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:


Contributed by: William_DavidWilliam_David
(others by this writer | submit your own)

I really liked the A-F debut, Quitters Never Win, by Much the Same, but it always seemed to sound a bit amateur to me (maybe it was just punk, maybe it was inexperience). With that said, this is a big step up for the band. With better production (Cameron Webb) and a few added years of experience, th.
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I really liked the A-F debut, Quitters Never Win, by Much the Same, but it always seemed to sound a bit amateur to me (maybe it was just punk, maybe it was inexperience). With that said, this is a big step up for the band. With better production (Cameron Webb) and a few added years of experience, the band sounds better than they ever have before.

Survive opens with "The Greatest Betrayal," which most fans have probably heard at this point, as it's the one that's been on their MySpace page about a year now. It has been re-recorded though, with a new ending that adds an extra refrain. The decision to open with this track is both good and bad. It's easily the hardest song on Survive, so it's a kickass way to start things off. On the other hand, for anyone that likes the harder side of Much the Same, this is never matched again on this album.

What fans do get on the rest of the album is a barrage of great songwriting. The band is much more daring this time around. While sticking with a familiar and fast punk sound, there is more straight rock influence in the music than ever. The concentration seems to be more on progression, on each track and as an album. In an early listen, the word "timeless" came up on Punknews. While that term seems a little cheesy and it's too early to judge this album's staying power over the years, the progression, songwriting, and rock sound makes Survive an album that it's hard to pin to a particular generation, which in the end, may be what keeps it around for awhile. It's not 2006 Nitro-style punk, it's just damn good music.

"American Idle," the second track, is the band's first real foray into politics. The whole song is worth quoting, but "I'm a bad cliché that too many of us portray / Blood spills on the ground and all our hands are dripping now" is a good example. The song faces the idea of neglecting American responsibilities, and therefore feeling responsible for some of the current world affairs. It's a great area for Much the Same to go, because it shares a political feeling, without turning the band into pushy political preachers.

"Skeletons," which comes exactly halfway through the 11-track album, is, so far, the best track I've heard this year from any band. The composition and development of the song is simply amazing, with some very background, but very intricate guitar work highlighting the song. The track deals with the skeletons everyone has (to some degree), but not owning up to the fact that you're not perfect. "Self righteous and hiding who you really are, trying to cover your scars / But they're there, don't deny who you really are / You play the fool when you drown your sorrows at the bar, that life won't get you very far."

The first five or six times I listened to this album, the first half felt very strong, while the end seemed to trail off a bit. Then, on a ride home one day, a few of the songs just really clicked with my life. Of course, this doesn't necessarily mean the songs are great. In fact, I still believe that musically, the first seven or so songs are better written than those that come later. Lyrically, though, the songs on this album range from politics, to religion, to the band's writer's block, to a music scene that's rejecting fast punk rock and being part of that. Throughout all of these, though, the songs are written on a very personal level, which gives them that power to connect.

And the songs near the end of the album aren't complete shit, it's really just nit-picking. When you have something so good to start, it's hard not to hold it to higher standards. There are some brilliant musical moments throughout the album, such as the vocal turn from the second verse of "For Those Left Behind" that leads back into the chorus "‚?¶stare through my hazy eyes / At the blank sheet that's in front of me, but no one wants to hear me sing about / How the scene is bleeding, but I can't shake this feeling that's inside."

"Picking Up the Shattered Pieces" is a great endcap to the album, lyrically summing up what the band has gone through to get to this point, and looking forward at what is to come.

The guitars aren't as prominent on here as Quitters Never Win, with guitarist Dan O'Gorman having less solo work, but much more intricate subtleties exist within the songs. The bass parts also garner more attention this time around, the drums are on, and the vocals are better than ever, with McGrath still dominating the leads, but aided by a lot of powerful backups from bassist Franky Tsoukalas. In the end, the few weaker areas of the album are overshadowed by its points of brilliance. The fact that the whole band was behind the writing of this album really shows, and it has the great feel of an "album" as opposed to a collection of songs. This band has taken a huge step forward, and Survive is one of the must-own albums of 2006‚?¶in this reviewer's opinion.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
Rise Against - The Sufferer & the WitnessRise Against - Revolutions Per MinuteThe Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!NOFX - The DeclineMuch The Same - Quitters Never WinNo Trigger - CanyoneerA Wilhelm Scream - Career SuicideA Wilhelm Scream - RuinerDead to Me - Cuban BallerinaThe Swellers - My Everest

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
splendidtune (February 20, 2010)

Best melodic punk album ever. Easy.

jeffernator (October 8, 2009)

Amazing.

drewdeficit (January 2, 2008)

i became good friends with this band a couple years ago. i miss them. this record will grace my ears for years and years to come.

Anonymous (January 30, 2007)

its not bad, it kinda sounds like most of the other nitro bands but its still good music. However, i like CIS a little bit better

pennywise4life (December 22, 2006)

best fucking skate punk i have heard in a long time. So good to hear a new band that could fit into the 90s scene

Anonymous (September 2, 2006)

this is a pretty good cd I enjoyed listening to it. Shame theyre on the label as A Wilhelm Scream who blow not just them but everyone else out of the water. 11 days til they play london yay!

vocalyouth (September 2, 2006)

I like this album. I'm glad this kind of punk isn't dead yet.

Anonymous (August 31, 2006)

Stitches rips my face off (in a good way)

Jim_Neighbors (August 31, 2006)

The lyrics sound like Kip is writing a poem to LaFawnduh. Not really. I just read them in a Kip voice. Everyone is creaming their pants over this band.

Anonymous (August 31, 2006)

after a about 4-5 spins, i can say this a good record. production is solid, great melodies, some nice guitar parts and great drumming. a few filler songs and some real bad/cliche lyrics are what keep it from being really good. but a giant step in the right direction. top 15 records of the year i guess. Def. better than the new rise against and nofx, hands down, those were major letdowns.
-cuapunkradio

MrStylson (August 31, 2006)

"These guys seem to be the only one left playing this style of punk, and they hit it all perfectly."

No Trigger, AWS, The Swellers...

That's just a few of them...

Razor_Crusade (August 30, 2006)

Fantastic album and well worth the wait since Quitters Never Win. These guys seem to be the only one left playing this style of punk, and they hit it all perfectly.

jesuschristsuperstar (August 30, 2006)

automatic333 is totally gay.

Kursk (August 30, 2006)

I like this band a lot, but for some reason I just can't get into them as much as I can some of their peers, they always seemed a little more boring musically as compared to say A Wilhelm Scream for example. Maybe it's me I dunno...

Anyway, my score is for the band, and after listening to the entire album, the score may go up.

onegirlarmy (August 30, 2006)

I thought Quitters Never Win wasn't bad, but this one is far better IMO. Some really strong songs on this record. Gut Shut, American Idle, What I Know, the last track who's title I forgot in particular. Very, very good album.

bryne (August 29, 2006)

Great review. Great band.

Icapped2pac (August 29, 2006)

I absolutely love "Timing Is Everything". That said, I listened to this for the first time last night and was pleasantly surprised. I had seen them live once (maybe with Over It at Alvin's in Detroit? I can't remember) and thought they were decent but they didn't move me enough to buy anything. This album, however, is definitely worth buying. Top notch work, guys, keep it up.

inagreendase (August 29, 2006)

Ignore the noise is on Silverstrand. Timing Is Everything was before that.

...That's exactly what I was talking about.

boba_fett (August 29, 2006)

ive listened to the album stream here quite a bit, and i can say that this album rocks my socks.

Anonymous (August 29, 2006)

Ignore the noise is on Silverstrand. Timing Is Everything was before that.

inagreendase (August 29, 2006)

Brian, how can you not like Timing Is Everything? Everyone I've encountered that remotely likes Over It, says that TIE is their favorite.

strange


See, here's the thing. "Ignore the Noise" is absolutely incredible, but I was really iffy on the rest of the album. So, figuring their older, more double time-oriented stuff would be similar to "Ignore," I checked it out, and just wasn't into it. Probably just too brightly melodic for me considering the style.

Scruffy (August 29, 2006)

Rad. I see what you mean now. "Muddy" probably wasn't the best adjective to use, as it could be taken the way I did, but when you explain it it makes sense. I take back what I said.

JayTee (August 29, 2006)

Scruffy, the new Strike has just enough kick to the point where it's not too much. I thought I made that clear in my joke review. Pro-Tools by the numbers crap like the new AFI is overproduced to the point where it sounds like it folds back on itself and ends up sounding like crap anyway. I swear I can actually hear the 1s and 0s. Kinda like overlighting in film, or a comic book with too much photoshop coloring, the important stuff gets drowned out. So there, that's what I meant by muddy. Next time I write a joke review I'll choose my adjectives more carefully.

Scruffy (August 29, 2006)

JayTee, do you ever know what you're talking about? You say the new Strike Anywhere doesn't have the "muddy "puked out by pro-tools" sound". Do you know what ProTools makes albums sound like? "Muddy" is the most unfitting adjective you could use. People dislike overuse of ProTools' capabilities because it makes the albums sound fake because they're so clean. And, quelle surprise, whenever I think of a band with too much prodcution, I think of SA, especially the new disc.

automatic333 (August 29, 2006)

One of the best, if not the best punk release of the year.

TheMarc (August 29, 2006)

Absolutely fantastic. Nitro wins again!

JayTee (August 29, 2006)

While at first it isn't as gripping or memorable as previous efforts and suffers from not having a strong opener like "We Amplify" Strike Anywhere have delivered what it sure to be the best album of the summer with Dead FM. The pace never slows, the lyrics are of the same socially conscious anti-establishment variety you've come to expect from Thomas Barnett, and the production is solid, great for melodic hardcore and doesnt have the muddy "puked out by pro-tools" sound you'd expect from a lot of todays artists. "Hollywood Cemetary" is the closest thing you will get to a "single" track and even that contains gratuitous usage of four letter words and themes unacceptable on commercial radio. All in all Stike Anywhere's latest effort gets a solid 9 from me. Rock on.

MrStylson (August 29, 2006)

not one person has mentioned "What I Know", and that's my favorite song off of this.

Excellent album, these guys just keep getting better.

bears_love_tacos (August 29, 2006)

does "skeletons" remind anyone else of unwritten law circa their s/t album?

Scruffy (August 29, 2006)

Lagwagon came out last year, and it was the best CD of last year.

NUFAN's best album is Hard Rock Bottom. I said it.

baseball (August 29, 2006)

no way, NUFAN probably hasn't released something this good since Making Friends

maybe More Betterness...but probably not

Anonymous (August 29, 2006)

Not good at all. Very generic. If you love a second rate NUFAN you may want this though.

baseball (August 29, 2006)

'For Those Left Behind' is the catchiest song released this year IMO

once this clicked for me about 5 listens in i just can't stop listening to it...everything flows really great and i don't find myself skipping tracks at all

i'm really looking forward to seeing these guys for a first time in Baltimore when they come now

this and Dead To Me just keep on climbing up on my total album listens of the year

Anonymous (August 29, 2006)

um, wait a minute......why yes, yes it does indeed-oldpunker-

Anonymous (August 29, 2006)

uhhhh, No Trigger does NOT blow this out of the water.....

Anonymous (August 29, 2006)

score is for no trigger blowin this outta the water, no trigger at ottobar tomorrow-oldpunker-

Anonymous (August 29, 2006)

I'll give Much The Same credit. It has some prize songs in this (Skeletons, American Idle) but Survive fails to get me into that excitement level that recent Nitro bands have gotten me into.

A good but equally forgettable disc.

Ramo

john_doe (August 29, 2006)

I was really stoked about this comming out finally, after it had been pushed back a few times. As others have already said, the album is solid and better than Quitters Never Win.

Just all around the album is well put together, and sounds good.

rozcoemission (August 29, 2006)

very disappointed... music is good, but the lyrics just don't cut it. saw them live a few months ago and they do sound good live.

Anonymous (August 29, 2006)

Pretty good. Provides my NUFAN fix.

jockmcbored (August 29, 2006)

really liked Quitters Never Win and I haven't had too much time to get into this as I've got the new Strike Anywhere, Banner Pilot and Ryan's Hope all at the same time but it sounds promising

socrates (August 29, 2006)

this is fucking badass! you can clearly say where the band draws their influences from, stitches' bridge is no trigger etc. the new drummer's awesome, the production's awesome, the lyrics aren't quite no trigger or rise against, but quite okay.

Frankff (August 29, 2006)

Much The Same really took a great leap forward with this one. It's so much better than their previous works, they're not even in the same league.

Big_Guy (August 29, 2006)

Brian, how can you not like Timing Is Everything? Everyone I've encountered that remotely likes Over It, says that TIE is their favorite.

strange

Anonymous (August 29, 2006)

Besides ignite and ryan's hope best record of the year

coldwaffles (August 29, 2006)

By the way, I'm sure Gunner is pretty stoked on this review. : )

ThinMike (August 29, 2006)

One of the best albums of the year.. possibly the best. Not only because it's so good but because some potentially great albums turned out to be not so great. Maybe not the coolest way to win best album of the year on anybody's list but hey it's stlil saying something. i like this better than rise against, lagwagon, nofx, or strike anywhere for sure.

TRiGGS (August 29, 2006)

Solid cd for sure...

ChokingVictim (August 29, 2006)

Pretty good record, but not quite as good as the 'org frequenters make it out to be.

drunkenriot (August 29, 2006)

they really got their band name right, i can almost get into them, but they just sound like too many other bands

Anonymous (August 29, 2006)

not bad songs, somes good ones but to be honest i really dislike the production, the guitar sound and the lyrics. the guitars sound fucked in the mix. not everyone can be a poet but these lyrics are bad no use or over it lyrics. just cliche, not many clever ryhmes/diction. but i will give a few stars for heading in the right direction and picking up some slack by at least having good vocals and some fast songs.

coldwaffles (August 29, 2006)

I have to agree with you on Skeletons, except that Set Your Goals' Mutiny! and No Trigger's More To Offer are equal.

That said, this album is good, but Skeletons got my hopes up too much.

almostpunkenough (August 29, 2006)

Brian is right. but i actaully really loved that album (ah, good Lobster releases).

this shit is so damn good.

inagreendase (August 29, 2006)

This album sounds exactly like Over It's Timing Is Everything. Unfortunately, I really don't like that album much. Cameron Webb took a band I had mild interest in and downgraded it to total indifference. Not bad, but this really doesn't do anything for me.

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