Self Against City - Telling Secrets to Strangers (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Self Against City

Telling Secrets to Strangers (2007)


In the world of watered down variations on Taking Back Sunday, the margins for success are small. Teary, dramatic vocals dominate the band's bland, uninteresting music, filled with clichéd girl-oriented themes that often leave much to desire. While other Drive-Thru bands have been able to succeed with either the creativity of Hellogoodbye, the lyrical bite of Socratic, or the comparative aggression of I Am the Avalanche, Self Against City has none of those.

The blatant egoism of the singer in "Tequila Moonlight" is the boldest the lyrical content ever gets on Telling Secrets: "You gave me that look across the table at dinnertime / Your toes caress my ankle / And I notice your breathing getting heavy / Your speech short of steady / It's obvious you're ready." In all fairness, there are several outlying occasions where the music isn't painfully dull. "Talking to the Mirror" is the best song on the album, featuring a relatively aggressive rhythm with a bouncy bass verse, "Becoming a Monster" has some catchy melodies with nice, albeit predictable backing vocals, and "Ready and Willing" could have been decent if it weren't for the unbearably gagging lyrics and vocal delivery.

By the eighth song, "You Got It," the band is clearly running out of steam. The last three songs are about as boring and monotonous as any ending to a record. The last song, "Back to Our Innocence" features an idiotic drum machine electronica beat that may have worked for Hellogoodbye, but turns an otherwise decent song into a complete joke for Self Against City.

With such a good name for a punk-related band in Self Against City, Telling Secrets to Strangers offers nothing but disappointment. Although there are several bright spots, the majority of the album lacks energy, audacity, and originality, a losing combination for any band trying to make more for itself than just a fanbase of teenage girls.