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This Time Next Year - Road Maps and Heart Attacks (Cover Artwork)

This Time Next Year

This Time Next Year: Road Maps and Heart AttacksRoad Maps and Heart Attacks (2009)
Equal Vision Records

Reviewer Rating: 3
User Rating:


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

Titling your debut you full-length Road Maps and Heart Attacks seems like a conscious attempt to asserting a band's self-definition, hinting at the desire to carve out the future as well as the unexpected surprises that may come along with it. Like a band named after a Movielife album would suggest,.
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Titling your debut you full-length Road Maps and Heart Attacks seems like a conscious attempt to asserting a band's self-definition, hinting at the desire to carve out the future as well as the unexpected surprises that may come along with it. Like a band named after a Movielife album would suggest, This Time Next Year are shrewd purveyors of the turn-of-the-century pop-punk sound. They obviously know where they are going, but unfortunately that leaves few surprises for the listener along the way; still, that doesn't mean we can't enjoy the ride.

Although This Time Next Year lack some of the "heavier" moments found in the catalogue of bands like the Movielife or Set Your Goals, they know when to turn on the aggression enough at just the right time. Take for instance the rapid drum fills of the intro to "Rise and Fall Curtain Call," or the head-banging crunch of "Cheers to a Late Night." While the band keeps things relatively upbeat, bright and punchy, the sombre "Rhyme and Reason" serves as a mid-album highlight -- which brings me to one of the album's limitations. The structuring of the album is extremely top-heavy, with the standout song "New Sensation" coming in at track two. If you were listening to an actual record one might never turn the B-side over at all, because save for aforementioned album closer "Cheers to a Late Night," the rest of the songs are pleasant but not very memorable.

Brian McTernan's production, as always, is pretty consistent throughout, allowing for just the right amount of grit to poke through the glossy pop sheen. However, the mixing on Road Maps and Heart Attacks seems to create one of its unnecessary drawbacks. The vocals tend to be a little too low in the mix. While the vocal harmonizing and trade-offs aren't as expertly performed as, say, the Menzingers, or even Midtown, there is some nice stuff going on that is just buried enough for the casual listener to miss.

Understandably, as Californians, there are definite moments here that are indebted to SoCal punk, but most of their sound is still heavily informed by the Northeast. This also includes the lyrical content of the album, which one could easily picture Ari Katz yelping, like on "Alex in Wonderland":

If you're walking home tonight, say your prayers keep to the streetlights.
I know I'm on your mind with the worst intentions.
I'm working up the guts to say you weren't enough.
Fuck what your friends say, I was never about you anyway"
Nothing brilliant by any means, but it fits the music perfectly and balances straightforwardness with attempted poeticism nicely.

Road Maps and Heart Attacks, certainly delivers on the promise of establishing This Time Next Year on the pop-punk path we've all seen before, but it lacks any real surprise that the title also hints at. If you are looking for a solid collection of well-produced pop-punk tunes to get you through those dreary winter months, look no further; but if you are looking for something with a little more staying power, you'd be well advised to check elsewhere.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
The Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!Hostage Calm - Hostage CalmMixtapes - Thought About Growing UpThe Gaslight Anthem - American SlangIron Chic - DemoTouché Amoré - Parting the Sea Between Brightness and MeDear Landlord - Dream HomesMixtapes - MapsThis Time Next Year - The Longest Way HomeThis Time Next Year - A Place for You

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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.
literamaniac (May 4, 2011)

I actually really like this. Catchy as fuck in all the right ways and nowhere near as overproduced as "The Longest Way Home". Seriously, that shit sounded obnoxious, especially the Kid Dynamite cover, though I'd probably get into it if they played it live. I kinda liked the original arrangements of "Alex in Wonderland" and "Cheers to a Late Night", but the production on this record definitely makes these more enjoyable.

SurfingTurf (April 7, 2010)

I didn't know the lead singers of NFG and Good Charlotte had a butt baby.

paulrulzdood (November 23, 2009)

solid album, very catchy, although nothing new. As the review states, this has been done before by several bands around 2000.

they seem to strike a sound that appears 80% Yellowcard and 20% NFG. The dude kind of sounds like Ryan Key, which is not a bad thing. "Rhyme and Reason" is probably the most glaring example of the YC influence, while the opening riff to "rise & fall curtain call" is straight-outta-NFG-S/T or perhaps "you vandal" by Saves the Day.

so, nothing original, nothing that wasn't being done 10 years ago by other bands, but they do it well. Far less cheesey than say, All Time Low and slightly more legit than, say, Hit the Lights.

But in the end, derivative. But I like this style of pop-punk and for what it is, it is an enjoyable 30 minutes, not too much filler, flows well from start to finish and has no-frills production.

Amazingthemike (November 22, 2009)

Great record. Pumped for them.

Vinyl (November 22, 2009)

Good cd, good band live, I would have replaced Liquid Diet with a re recording of Sweetest Air.

neverbeenbetter (November 21, 2009)

Darby Crash's fav. band. lol

sloanedaley (November 21, 2009)

I like this band. It's one of the few that me and my sister (who listens to Mayday Parade, Forever The Sickest Kids, etc) can both enjoy. I'm hoping bands like this can lead her into listening to better music.

Try Lifetime's S/T and then try to get her into Fairweather, Midtown, SYG, the Movielife and Saves the Day's first record.

IanIsSuperRad (November 21, 2009)

I like this band. It's one of the few that me and my sister (who listens to Mayday Parade, Forever The Sickest Kids, etc) can both enjoy. I'm hoping bands like this can lead her into listening to better music.

damnitsderek (November 21, 2009)

Good review.

This record isn't amazing by any means, but it's really catchy at times.

swenknup (November 20, 2009)

Good review yet I disagree wth your comment on staying power. Great sing along songs and really catchy hooks.

theonetruebill (November 20, 2009)

"This Time Next Year" is my favorite Chinese Telephones song.

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