A Rocket To The Moon - On Your Side
Record Label: Fueled By Ramen / Decaydance
Release Date: October 13, 2009
It’s funny to think how Nick Santino has evolved from his days of doig his techno-led solo music to having ARTTM become a full band that actually produces some decent music. Band members include Justin Richards (guitar, Brighten), Eric Halvorsen (bass), and Andrew Cook (drums). They showed some potential with the Greetings From… EP, and show even more with this latest offering On Your Side. Now, On Your Side is not meant to be some sort of creative, complicated, piece of art. It is meant to be a collection of simply catchy and appealing songs and I’m not going to bash it for not being something more. It’s strictly feel good pop, which isn’t bad in any way shape or form.
That being said, the album opens with the track ‘Annabelle’. While it is a pleasant song overall, there’s nothing special here. It is exactly what you would expect from any other band in this genre. Since this is not a cohesive album and each track pretty much just stands on its own, this was a solid pick to open up the album. The listener’s attention is grabbed because it’s something they were probably expecting to hear, and it was done pretty well.
The lead track is followed up by the band’s single choice ‘Mr. Right’. This track is a great example of how well they mix acoustic and electric guitars. The verses contain mostly acoustic, while the chorus hits the electric parts. Throw in complimentary piano parts and some semi-decent lyrics and they came out with a song catchy enough to stay inside your head for a while.
‘She’s Killing Me’ is just an ok track, but it shows how much the lyrics can vary. In the first verse there’s the line “she never drives her car, she drives me crazy”, but then is followed up by a nice little thought out chorus, “I’ll take her out, and drop her off on the outskirts of our town, I’ll leave a trail of roses that lead back home…” There’s potential here. “I went out and bought her roses, she complained about the thorns, I caught her smiling, and that’s what I do it for” also shows he can come up with some lines about roses as well.
The next track is ‘On a Lonely Night’ which turns the tempo down just a little bit. There are some very good female vocals (lent by Caitlin Harnett) to compliment the chorus, which enhances the song in a great way. There’s a nice little bridge guitar riff that’s fairly soothing, thanks to Justin from Brighten. Nick’s vocals are very solid on this track, with some falsetto action going on in the chorus. Following is the one song that was redone from the Greetings From… EP, ‘Dakota’, which is a fan favorite. The song isn’t tinkered with much, but probably for the better. The only real difference I can notice besides slightly improved instrumentals is a small melodic change in the chorus. ‘Life of the Party’ turns the tempo back up to the start of the album. The song is based off of an acoustic guitar palm mute beat. The track is a song about somewhat taking a positive spin on a breakup/rejection, but is an easily forgettable track all in all because, it seems like we’ve heard it before (somewhat like ‘She’s Killing Me’ with the guitar palm mutes).
Turning the tempo down again, we get the song ‘Like We Used To’, which is defiantly one of the better tracks off of On Your Side. A song about a guy who believes he should have wound up with the girl, but seems to accept the fact she may be in love with someone else, and loves her enough to tell her to not throw it away if she’s really in love. It’s hard not to feel a little bad for the man in the song. It leaves to question though, what exactly happened 14 months and seven days ago? ‘Where Did You Go?’ is another forgettable track with some rather lackluster lyrics nut decent musicianship.
The track ‘Sometimes’ sticks out like a sore thumb on the album. This is a rather hit or miss song for the listener, which I’m willing to bet misses more than it hits. The song starts out with nothing but vocals over an eerie synth track only to be joined by a guitar about 20 seconds in. This song is equivalent to say something like ‘Too Much’ off of All Time Low’s Nothing Personal. It just doesn’t jive at all with the rest of the album musically. ‘Baby Blue Eyes’ brings the music back to what the ears have been used to through the first eight tracks. The song has an overall chill vibe to it, and is a pretty solid track with cute lyrics. Only complaint is the guitar transition at the end just doesn’t seem right and changes pace on a dime, throwing you off.
The second to last track, ‘Give A Damn’, has live written all over it. I can see girls hoping up and down singing to this song at concert. Yes, the lyrics leave a lot to be desired, but overall, the song has a catchy vibe to it and I have no real problem with the song on the album (actually a guilty pleasure from the album as a while). The title track is the closer for the album. A quite piano line starts the track, and then picks up slightly. The song overall is not a great album cap off, but is decent enough. It is just another love song about his love being on her side, nothing new, but again, cute. It is not going to be the song stuck in your head when the album is over however.
All in all, this is a solid release, especially it being a bands first real full length. This is an album that you want to bust out when is the getting to be summer time, driving with your girlfriend in the passenger seat and you want some solid tunes that you can both enjoy before you hit the town for the night. The only thing that’s missing from the album is a duet with Taylor Swift (which I’m sure Nick would probably kill someone for).
I can't believe Andrew Cook is in this band now. My band used to play with them in high school sometimes. They (or at least who was in the band at the time) seem like cool dudes, but I can't stand the music one bit.