The Distance - The Rise, the Fall, and Everything in Between (Cover Artwork)

The Distance

The Rise, the Fall, and Everything in Between (2006)


The Rise, the Fall, and Everything in Between is a full-length made for the digital age. If you think the cover art is hideous looking (and woah, it certainly is!), purchase the music files and delete the cover art image. If you preferred the Distance of old (i.e. when they were undoubtedly an awesome hardcore band), delete or ignore the two or three tracks that inexplicably deviate into quasi-Good Charlotte territory. Everything is a boon for flexibility and customization. It's an album that is ripe for love it / hate it analysis, in turn, it's something that I just can't seem to entirely wrap my head around. The last album that had me this perplexed and frustrated was from Hazen St.... and we all know how well that project went.

Six of the ten songs on Everything are rip-roaring persuasions of melodic hardcore. For the most part, it's safe to say that these songs are catchy without being lame, and heavy enough to blend well into the band's early discography. By comparison, the other four songs are "Charlie Sheen in Major Leage" wild pitches. Not only out of the strike zone, but sitting somewhere between home and third. "Phase Two" is endemic of what the Distance are capable of writing when they want to sound downright furious and compelling. The Distance have all the right tools to write, fast, aggresive songs, but too often on Everything the temptation of the overt melodic hook gets the best of the band. The biggest offenders are "Inspired by You" (a track so alarmingly annoying that I thought it was a joke when I first heard it), and "Let It Rain," which features an `80s style cheeseball chorus gone askew -- oh my freakin' ears! The one song that seems to capture the duality of the Distance's new sound is "At Least I'm Good at Something," which includes guest vocals from the Used's lead singer, Bert McCracken. Here, the band doesn't try to shove an unwieldy melody down your throat and the strong guitar work gives it a pretty huge backbone to rely upon. "Broken Promises" has a hook that sounds like it was sugar-coated by Willy Wonka, but the song isn't short on intensity overall. The Distance are crankin' on the opener "The Set Up," and the ninth tune "Before It's Gone," but too much inconsistency in the band's direction obscures the impact of the better material.

I don't want to "breakup" with the Distance, but The Rise, the Fall, and Everything in Between seemingly creates a bit more space between my support for the band's past and their current state of being. Everything is a gamble and then some for the band, and to me, I'm not so sure it was worth the risk.