If Alive in Wild Paint's name was reflective of how long their full-length actually took to come out, the band may as well have changed their name to Cracked and Peeling Paint.
In any event, after numerous pushbacks, Ceilings is finally here, and ready to provide sappy atmospheres that will probably provoke tampon jokes from those scared of more than three chords. If there are criticisms to be drawn towards Ceilings, they shouldn't lie in the album's tenderness; that aspect is a warm and engaging quality, led by frontman Travis Bryant's incredibly gentle and moderately feminine coo. And while their lushly layered, piano dabbling, expressive emoting invokes images of a place somewhere between the arena embrace of acts like Snow Patrol and Coldplay and the heartfelt basement atmospheres of lesser-knowns like Elliott and Mineral, it's a territory they seem to tread well enough.
It's more that the band have really failed to match the dynamic we already know they're proficient in -- from 2006's teaser EP under the Goodbye Tomorrow moniker. Jimmy Eat World's Clarity is another record that provides another clear influence to Ceilings, but Clarity had balance, forcefulness and the drawn out plagues of anxiety. Ceilings merely plays off the last of these acts, and consequently it's not entirely as captivating as Alive in Wild Paint is truly capable of. "Sleep with Your Soul In" seems to respond to this need, but that's the exception to the rule.
But that's not to say Ceilings is a bad record. All the above describes just why. Plus, producer Mark Trombino seems to have gotten his touch back after the migraine-inducing recordings on all those otherwise fun Drive-Thru albums from the early 2000s (What It Is to Burn, Living Well Is the Best Revenge, looking your way). Even when Bryant sounds royally psychotic sweetly singing the lyrics of the fucked up "God Save Me a Gun" ("God gave me a gun, / said take everyone / standing in the way / of what you really want. / So I took his advice. / Yeah, I never thought twice. / Headed out to find to find a victim. / And if I never run / out of ammunition / I'll just keep shooting"), something about it just works.
The sky's the limit for Alive in Wild Paint, and while they do seem to try and rise above here, there's a certain something they're bumping into.
Sleep with Your Soul In
Children of Divorce