Tin Armor - A Better Place Than I Have Been (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Tin Armor

A Better Place Than I Have Been (2007)

One Percent Press

"Walking in the park / sleeping in the car / Walking in the park / sleeping in the car" -- sung a cappella before the instruments kick in, this is how the album begins. The music is basic vintage-sounding drum, bass and guitar power-pop / pop-punk with just enough action in the chord progressions to garner a comparison to Ted Leo + the Pharmacists. The vocals follow lofty melody lines akin to a certain former Smiths lead singer's, but sung with the timbre of the guy from the Smoking Popes. Okay, fuck the rest of the comparisons, but at least we're all on common footing here.

We've got 12 songs, and as far as I know this is the band's debut full-length. The songs all hover around the two-minute mark, full of melodies and mini-harmonies. All in all, it should be an unremarkable experience. After enough time, the drum breaks in "Tall Shoes" start to run together with the bouncing bassline in "My Fatal Organ." But this must be the fifth or sixth time listening to this album, and I find little things in every song that I seem to like. The band carries the album through with a solid energy and change-up pace that strikes me almost as much as Dookie did when I was 10. I'm magnetically drawn to it, trying to find flaws but can only come to one conclusion: I've grown accustomed to its face.

Either that, or it's just completely unobjectionable music. That's not to say that I'm paying attention to the lyrics. Apart from the opener, we get other lyrics like "Don't you say it is inevitable because you've got a heart / I've got one too / Though I tried not to break yours / I did, I always do." Lines like these are a dime a dozen in breakup anthems, but for some reason when paired with music that has such a sunny disposition, I don't seem to mind.

Key cuts include "My True Step," which showcases the band's ability to write a solid uptempo pop song and "Red Fangs," which displays a slight tempo change and a slightly less saccharine tone. However, in order to counterbalance the unwavering praise, at the end of the album I don't really feel like clamoring my way to the start button in order to kick it off again. The mental bliss was only temporary, but I won't object to it if submitted again.