Artist: Write This Down
Album: Write This Down
Label: Tooth & Nail
Release Date: April 20, 2010
Review by: Michael Mayer III
- Alarm the Alarm
- Despite Your Valour
- I Never Said I Was Through With You
- Center of Attention
- We Shot the Moon
- Kings and Councilors
- Heaven and Hell
Write This Down is another debut band on Tooth & Nail Records and their name is fitting. After listening to all eleven songs off their first release you’ll need to write down what each sounded like. That’s not to say they aren’t memorable, just that they are all over the map and you can never peg what direction the next one will go in. Despite the cover art looking like something you’d see on the latest Nickelback album (what with their frequent use of cars), this band is as far away from being such a bland act. Write This Down’s self-titled album thrives in constantly changing the sound to keep your attention from swaying.
A problem with most rock bands is the similarity of their songs across an album. There is no need to worry with this one. The first two tracks have a power pop mixture of guitars and drums complete with emotive vocals (think Anberlin) until some guttural screaming comes in and adds a gritty edge to what started off as a slick rock song. Then you get the metal-inspired ‘Renegade’ (a song destined for the extreme sporting events) complete with heavily distorted guitar riffs and raspy vocals. The combination of aggression and smooth vocals in this track proves the type of range and possibilities this band is capable of covering. Usually bands don’t explore this many sounds until they have a couple albums under their belt so it’s all the more impressive when a debut band is able to accomplish this, especially with such a short run-time.
The second half starts off with two polar opposites as far as their styles go. ‘Center of Attention’ is a pop rock tune driven by those higher pitched vocal harmonies and a simple hook in the chorus that seems oddly familiar. The repetition in the chorus gets tiring rather quickly and it’s probably the least interesting track here. ‘Citadel’ shows the band trying their hand at a ballad and I was surprised to find they pulled it off rather well. A piano provides the backbone of the track as Johnny sings softly over the notes and all three members masterfully build up to the climax. Don’t expect the lyrics to be overly deep, but at the same time, Write This Down isn’t ashamed to sing of their beliefs as they show in ‘Redemption’. In that one chaos erupts halfway through the song amidst swirling guitars and higher screams than they’ve ever used before.
One attribute that will repeatedly leap out at you is the plethora of harmonies that soar above the music. It’s almost as if Write This Down is begging you to get pumped up and sing along at the top of your lungs. Fortunately, they make it easy, as they often supply simple sing-a-long choruses and easily chant-able phrases. There is no better example of that than the instantly infectious ‘We Shot the Moon’. Johnny Collier has a very emotive and diverse voice to hit the hooks flawlessly and powerful backing vocals to give the song a very expansive sound easy to pump my fist to. It’s just demanding to be blared from my car as loud as I possibly can in the open summer air. The same goes for ‘Kings and Councilors’ which features rapid pop punk vocals in the chorus before changing direction in the bridge with a metal riff and more aggressive screaming. It’s just disappointing that after this wild sound-scape of dynamic tunes the album closes with a whimper. ‘Heaven and Hell’ is an acoustic track that is so brief and out of character with everything else they’ve accomplished that it feels incomplete and tacked on. Everything they’ve done up to this point is stripped away leaving the listener perplexed as to where this came from.
Overall: Some might find Write This Down difficult to get into with its mish-mash of styles while others will find it a welcome relief, albeit a short one clocking in at just over 34 minutes. It doesn’t have the depth and staying power to be a classic and some songs don’t hold up as well as others, but it’s still an enjoyable romp through a collection of sounds you may have never expected to be in one place aside from on a compilation album. It is an album meant to be played in the summer with the windows down as you’re driving on a hot summer day. Just don’t let the upbeat tracks cause you to put the pedal to the metal. Write This Down will not be held accountable for your actions.
Gems of this album are: ‘Renegade’, ‘Alarm the Alarm’, ‘We Shot the Moon’, ‘Kings and Councilors’