They say imitation is the most sincere form of flattery.
Well, if that's something they agree with, favorite Long Island sons the Movielife should be pretty damn flattered by Brookside's debut full-length.
Much in the vein of the Movielife and older Brand New, Brookside put a little harder of an edge on their pop-punk sound and do their best to swing for the fences. The guitars consistently buzz under the soaring vocals of Matt Baard, and the lyrics have all the broken relationship drama that one could possibly be expecting. Personally, I never liked the Movielife, or even really understood why so many other people did, so I can't judge them on that basis. On their own merit, I'll say that they really seem to have trouble developing solid and engrossing structures.
Sure, the genre is rather limiting, but there are several bands that have stretched it to its limit, and Brookside simply is not one of them. I can't go so far as to say the album is abrasive or annoying, but throughout its course, I feel like nothing actually happens. It's alright background music, and it's something that I definitely wouldn't mind hearing once in a while, but there's not one single element that jumps out and grips me.
And that's exactly why this album will fall by the wayside.
Some songs do have promise, and do hint at least somewhat that something bigger and better is cooking underneath. "Face Down"'s chord progressions start out rather interesting, and the vocal delivery in the verses suits it perfectly, but when it comes time for the chorus to come sweep the song to a much higher level, it just doesn't happen. It's not that there's not enough energy, it's not that they're not trying, but it's just missing that certain intangible something. "Silence as a Weapon" is the band's foray into a slower, more deliberate delivery, but that has them feeling rather uncomfortable. The slower speed and rhythm simply doesn't lend itself well to this style of music, and thus, the song is never really afforded the opportunity to take off.
Don't get me wrong, I see a lot of potential here. And this from somebody who doesn't even like the band Brookside seems to be emulating. Rearranging, adding, and subtracting some pieces here and there could do wonders for this Long Island quartet, it's now just a matter of whether they see that themselves.