The Compromise - The Compromise
Record Label: Self-Released
Release Date: N/A
Halftime is a period where teams can re-strategize and improve to perform better in the second half of a game. In a way, that is exactly what The Compromise (Brandon Alan Bell on vocals/guitar, J.D. Short on guitar/vocals, Adam Inman on bass/vocals, and Matthew Stark on drums/vocals) do on their self-titled record. Obviously, there is no actual intermission but the songs of the record’s last half strongly overpower any of the first eight offerings, even though the first half does have its select high points.
“Have Mercy,” the album opener, is one of those brighter moments with a good, catchy opening and a soaring, sing-a-long chorus as Bell sings “I know what you did” with palpable emotion. Next is “Thou Shalt Not Worship False Billy Idols,” which fails to be as interesting as the title would suggest mostly because the melodies lack any hooks. “Not Gonna Let You Go” has a bit of a messy opening but does have a fast-paced and memorable chorus while “Where are the Gloves?” showcases a good vocal performance by Bell and solid riffs throughout.
“You’re Beautiful; I’m Hammered” is a song where Stark shines but it sounds too much like a flat All Time Low/New Found Glory hybrid at times. Inman’s bass on “Stupid in Love” is impressive as is the song itself which is simply pop-punk in its purest form. “Congratulations” is a song that is decent but nothing sets it apart or begs for it to be replayed. Concluding what I call the record’s first half is “Like an Old Habit,” which feels like a hip hop song to start out before transitioning back to the pop-punk feel. Aside from Bell’s vocals, though, nothing else is really worth mentioning. So, none of these first eight songs are bad, but none of them really compel listeners to explore them a second time, which is what the final nine songs do more effectively.
“Like the Stars” features the album’s catchiest chorus, energetic verses, and a hard-hitting bridge that is sure to impress. As Bell sings “Let them look/let them see who we are/watch us shine like the stars” listeners can’t help but sing along. “Teen Movie Moment” keeps the energy high with the gang vocals adding a nice touch but it is a little too repetitive. Next is “Meet Me Down By the Waterfront After the Social,” which features an opening similar to “Like an Old Habit” and good verses but a forgettable chorus. “Just Don’t Take This Too Seriously” has a good synth back-up (prevalent on most of the record) to a blaring guitar riff. The melodies here are much slower and softer but they are excellently done especially in the chorus as Bell laments “Walk away my darling/walk away my love.” It is perhaps the album’s best song and should have been reserved for the closing track.
“Girl on the Moon” successfully enters the ballad territory as Bell sweetly sings “I can’t believe it took this long/for me to see/I had it all wrong” over an acoustic guitar and piano. Coming on next is “(‘Til Then) Patience,” which contains the album’s best guitar riff in this good lyrical offering about waiting for love to truly manifest itself.
“Heels Over Head” is a pretty generic pop-punk song with a “na na na” opening and a good bridge. “In Summary,” the album’s final track captures the tone of record decently enough with its lyrics about moving on (“I think we’re out of touch/I think I think too much”) and sing-a-long verses. It does not leave listeners with something special or different to end on, though, which is why “Just Don’t Take This Too Seriously” would have fit in much better as it is more unique while still channeling a profound energy.
The second half, then, still has its flaws but it truly trumps the first half in comparison. Neither half has a bad song, but they both contain tracks that could have been better. The problem with this record is that, taken as a whole, a lot of the songs are not differentiable enough and consequently blend together. Still, the album has its impressive moments especially in the second half with “Like the Stars” and “Just Don’t Take This Too Seriously” which do everything correctly and beg to be replayed. If The Compromise can match the potential displayed in those two particular tracks, their next release could have a legitimate chance of catapulting them into the mainstream.