Hailing from Sydney, Australia, Tonight Alive are a youthful five piece and 'What Are You So Scared Of?' is their first full length album, following a number of EP releases. From the Manga style sleeve artwork through to the provocative album title and song names, never mind the music itself, it is clear that they have built this album to have 'commercial potential' as they say in the music-biz, pop-pickers. Have they succeeded? We shall see...
The album certainly starts in a dramatic way with the orchestrated opener, 'Eject Eject Eject', which with it's mix of electric and orchestral instruments is definitely a bold opening statement. This segues into 'Breaking And Entering', which really is the start of the album proper, and which provides a template for the tunes that follow.
Dominated by punky backing, Jenna McDougall sings with 'attitude' and youthful vigour on this track. Most of the album follows this formula, with one shining exception, and after a couple of tunes it becomes rather wearing.
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To these ears the record is a collection of singles, and doesn't really work as a whole. This is a shame, as the band have put a lot of effort into the album, and individually a number of thesongs do work pretty well. There is some good energy going on here, and when she eases off on the histrionics Jenna shows that she has the chops to be a truly excellent singer, while the rest of the band show some good talent too.
On a positive note there is one song, 'Amelia', that shows what this band are capable of. With it's beautiful melody, heartfelt singing, and emotional lyrics, it is by far and away the most memorable song here. More please!
The musicianship throughout the album is excellent, and the guys play with real passion and energy. I hope that in time that they develop as writers, and can produce more songs of the calibre of 'Amelia'.
It does not give me pleasure to disparage the time and effort that has gone into the making of this album, but I have to be honest, and despite my harsh words regarding this album, I'll keep an eye on Tonight Alive. There is potential, and I look forward to hearing how they progress. I hope that they are given time to develop and mature, because the promise here needs to be nurtured.
I was going to give it two pints, but the ballsiness of the playing, and the presence of the fantastic 'Amelia' bumps it up to a generous three pints.
1. 'Eject, Eject, Eject!'
2. 'Breaking & Entering'
4. 'Sure As Hell'
5. 'Let It Land'
6. 'Fake It'
8. 'Reason to Sing'
9. 'Safe & Sound'
10. 'Thank You & Goodnight' (feat. Mark Hoppus)
12. 'In The First Place'
13. 'To Die For'
14. 'What Are You So Scared Of?'
Jenna McDougall — lead vocals
Whakaio Taahi — guitar, backing vocals
Jake Hardy — guitar
Cam Adler — bass guitar, backing vocals
Matt Best — drum, percussion