Label: SloSpeak Records
Release Date: 1/24/2012
- Whatever It Takes
- Long Way Home
- Better Days
- Coming Of Age
- King In Rags
As someone that has a reputation listening and writing about heavier styled rock music, I am relieved to be able to be able to take a break sometimes and check out newer pop rock/punk bands that are breaking into the scene. I was sitting one night at a Starbucks and was looking up the newer 2012 albums that recently were released and came across a solid pop rock band from Indianapolis, Indiana called Pioneer (formally News From Verona). A lot has been said about the recent surgence of SloSpeak records bands such as Pioneer, Sons, and Blood and Water. A lot of hype has been made and I had to see what it was all about. When I checked out Pioneer’s self-titled release, I instantly got why such a big deal was being made. They are a solid band and are about to make an impact this year and in the coming years.
While I was checking out this record, I noticed the quality of the production very well done. The production value on this record is top notch. And would you expect anything less from a Mark Townsend (Produced: Relient K & The Wedding) album? There is a good feel through out the album with every instrument used. The drums cut through and the guitars are crisp. The bass guitar even has presence on this record giving the album feel and a sense of fullness.
The song wrting on this album is pretty solid as well. Though the songs may be simple and contain modern standard song formats, there is a purpose with every note played. They are pretty well layered as well. Songs like “Reach”, you have to listen close to hear a little lead riff in the left speaker. The lead riffs do not take away from the lead vocals and are heard well enough to be appreciated. Another song that sticks out to me is “Long Way Home”. Honestly it is a decent song. The lyrics aren’t anything to write home about, however the dynamics through the song up until the last chorus where the key changes captures the imagination up and down a roller coaster. I am also a sucker for key changes. You can appreciate the fact that there was no denying that it was coming and should happen, but when the key changes there is a sense of relief like it was suppose to happen. No matter what, it was something that had to be done to create a sense of resolution.
Vocally, I had a hard time figuring out what they reminded me of. At first with some melodies I was reminded of All Time Low. At some points Fall Out Boy and All American Rejects. Then it hit me, these guys remind me a lot of Ivoryline. The vocal style has a stiff flow through the notes and are pushed out very well. Every note is hit precise and with a purpose. Pioneer sounds like a band that can be enjoyed live vocally, being able to sustain pitch and keep it. A very impressive feat for a band releasing their first full length
You can definitely compare Pioneer to a various amount of bands. Bands that I can hear musically are Relient K (everything from “Mmhmm” on), Sleep For Sleepers, Forever Changed and vocally a good mix of All Time Low and Ivoryline. Obviously, for a band, to be compared to other bands can be a good and a bad thing all at the same time. You never want to be told you sound like another band in fear of being accused of being unoriginal. On the other hand it is flattering to be compared to bands you have looked up to. Pioneer mixes these influences into creating an almost unique sound. They have manufactured something that can be appealing to fans of pop rock to pop punk to even alternative rock.
Overall: Pioneer has released an above average full length album thanks to solid production and good song writing. This album has something that can be considered enjoyable to whomever may listen. Whether it be the catchy hooks, hard driven guitars, or the heart warming ballads. With this release I am excited for what else is to come.
RIYL: Ivoryline, All Time Low, Sleep for Sleepers, & Relient K