Album Review :
Theatre Breaks Loose - Stranger Places, Greater Things
Band: Theatre Breaks Loose
Title: Stranger Places, Greater Things
Release Date: November 15th
- Mr Know It All
- The Birds and the Bees
- Costa Rica
- Stranger Places, Greater Things
- Buried Alive
Let me start out by saying pop punk is a genre that has been virtually dead to me since the classic days of Relient K. As the lovably fun boys from Ohio grew into men and released the more rock oriented “Mmhmm”, I grew up and out of the pop punk trend as well. Since then, I have practically avoided the genre like the plague. I have to say though, the 5 piece Theatre Breaks Loose may be the just what I needed to resurrect my interest in pop punk.
Right from the gates, Theatre Breaks Loose cranks up the energy as Mr. Nice Guy has the listener instantly tapping their toes and grinning like a fool. The Oklahoma City natives use just about every element expected to be found in the arsenal of a standard pop punk group. You have powerful, slightly crunchy guitars, driving bass and upbeat drums. Heck, they even have playful synths to provide a fun touch to the over all sound. What I did not expect though was the use of trade of vocals. Now, I’ll let you in on a secret. Ever since Emery released “The Weak’s End”, I have been a sucker for dueling vocals. Needless to say, Theatre Breaks Loose instantly won my heart when I heard two pairs of distinctly different and strong vocals. Songs like Distance really see the benefit of trade off vocals as the two singers take turns after nearly every line. I can imagine this song will be an instant fan favorite at live shows as out of breath fans desperately try to sing both vocalists parts.
The Birds and the Bees was a track that instantly struck me as my favorite. The apparent playful lyrics and over-all bubbly sound won my heart. As the chorus says, “I’m floating so carelessly/ Along with the birds and the bees”, I can just imagine myself floating on a cloud in a far off dream land. To me, this is the epitome of pop punk.
While the majority of songs have lighthearted lyrics the album closer, Buried Alive is a solemn ballad. From what I could find online, the song is about a single note written in a member’s deceased grandfather’s bible. The note asked, “What do you do when your dreams are gone?”. With a song based on a thought that concept it goes without saying, it is a very personal and thoughtful song. The backbone of this song is a single piano and some light strings, letting the listener truly focus on the spectacular vocal performance and the lyrics that flow from the mouths of the vocalists. This unexpected, serious side of Theatre Breaks Loose shows the band is well rounded and possesses maturity beyond their years.
Although I enjoyed “Stranger Places, Greater Things” immensely, there were a few things I think could be made better. While the simplicity of the songs are refreshing and easy to listen to, I felt that Theatre Breaks Loose could benefit from adding a little more complexity to their music. Be it by mixing up the song structure a little more as opposed to verse/chorus/verse/chorus or by adding a few more sections like the well executed House of Heroes esque guitar solo in Distance.
Overall: Aside from my minor complaint about the simplicity in their songs, Theatre Breaks Loose have won me over and renewed my interest in pop punk with the release of “Stranger Places, Greater Things”. The dueling vocals and overall fun feel of this cd were more than enough to gain my attention and keep my interest in this talented, young band. Expect to hear more from these guys in the future. RIYL: The Almost, Say Anything, The Rocket Summer