Sing It Loud - Come Around
Richard Wink 17/06/2009
Minneapolis has been a heartland for various mutations of popular / alternative rock. The likes of Hüsker Dü, The Replacements, Soul Asylum, Babes in Toyland, Dillinger Four, and Motion City Soundtrack have had considerably success both in the States and abroad. It was thanks to MCS guitarist Josh Cain that Sing It Loud were picked up by Epitaph, Cain also produces this album; so with plenty of hope and expectation surrounding them Sing It Loud plan to emulate some of the success of their fellow Minnesotans.
It is worth addressing the view that there has been a decline in the output of Epitaph records, a label that once genuinely had a stamp of quality attached to every record they put out, the Rough Trade of the punk world if you will. Yes, a label needs to grow, and yes a label needs to have a diverse roster of artists but the fact that a band as poor as Sing It Loud has been signed speaks volumes. The argument against this point is made by Sing it Loud's guitarist Kieren Smith "Many old-school, Epitaph punk kids hate our band, but I don't care… Honestly, people will love and hate what you do. I'm doing this band for me and my boys. People change, music changes, labels change”.
Come Around is a zeitgeist record, in recent years pop punk has merged into power pop before crudely becoming pure pop. The commercial breakthrough of a sound perfected by The All American Rejects, Panic! At The Disco and Ultimate Fakebook has mutated into something altogether more wholesome and sugary. Strangely the early noughties glut of second wave pop punk bands such as Sum 41, Blink 182 and Good Charlotte who at their peak were considered weak and rather pathetic now seems edgy in comparison. The target market now is the tweens who no longer have Boy bands to salivate over, a band like Sing it Loud could be viewed as a rebellious step up from those kids who have recently moved on from Miley Cyrus and The Jonas Brothers.
Sing it Loud's synth driven pop punk sound is devoid of charm and character. The tone is set from the get go with 'I've Got A Feeling', a drab effort that struggles to shift gears. Throughout the record you also have to endure the pale vocals of Pat Brown, the latest in a long line of vocalists to attempt that exaggerated Adam Lazzara style delivery. Guest appearances by MCS's Justin Pierre and All Time Low's Alex Gaskarth on the best of a bad bunch 'No One Can Touch Us' cannot save this album from descending into a blanket of blandness. The lazy proclamation of “You've heard one, you've heard them all” applies.
If you want to be a successful pop band you need basic hooks, or a catchy chorus. Sing It Loud don't even have this in their armoury. I suppose Brand New are the perfect example of a band that have proven you should never completely write off a pop punk act after one shoddy, unimaginative album. Therefore there is room for artistic growth and time for Sing It Loud to vastly improve. Chances are they will make a couple more similar sounding albums, fall off the radar completely and then become accountants.