Avenue You - Where to Start.
Record Label: Self-Released
Release Date: October 4, 2009
Oftentimes, debut records are seen as embarrassments by the bands who created them when looking back after ten or so years. Avenue You, though, have nothing to be embarrassed about concerning their debut, Where to Start., a record that is successful from beginning to end. Whether it is through its fast, catchy hooks or slower, methodical melodies, Where to Start. shows a lot of potential from this young band (Kevin O’Brien on vocals/bass, Steve Doyle on guitar/vocals, Brian Allerton on drums, and Nick Castello on guitar) and they prove that they have the chops to make it somewhere in this scene.
“Where to Start” kicks things off well, serving as a short introduction track with a memorable drum beat and good vocal harmonies. The first full-length song is “And So it Goes…” which features a good opening riff, catchy verses with lyrics like “How’d it all go by so fast…but can we make it last?”, and a bridge sure to get listeners jumping. The chorus of “Wake You Up” can definitely get heads bobbing but aside from that part, the song is forgettable overall.
Next is “Pick up the Phone (It Might be an Emergency!)” which bears a resemblance to New Found Glory’s “Failure’s Not Flattering” in the verses. The bass and drums here are top-notch and the synth backing in the pre-chorus complements the song well. “Here” is where the record enters ballad territory as a piano joins in alongside a soft acoustic guitar and drum beat. O’Brien provides good vocals and falsettos which are enhanced by the guest vocals of Lauren Ciarpelli of Lights of Autumn (the two have an excellent duet of sorts). This song is about relying on someone in a relationship and gaining strength, and it builds up nicely in the bridge. “High and Tight” features foot-tapping verses and a sing-a-long chorus in this fun song about not being up to a girl’s standards.
Following “High and Tight” is “They Never Knew,” a track with a second acoustic opening later joined once more by the piano as O’Brien sings “I wonder how you’re ever gonna get home/if I choose to stay will you still feel alone?” “Change Your Mind” is home to more good harmonies before it transitions into a faster song with another catchy chorus. “Strike Hard, Strike Fast, Show No Mercy” is a faster, more aggressive offering with fist-pumping verses and lyrics like “you’ve caught me now in a moment of defeat/my head is down and I’ve fallen to my knees.”
Serving as the penultimate track is “Third Time’s the Charm”, which features fun verses with hand claps and gang vocals. The dueling guitars in the bridge are also a nice touch as is the marching snare drum. The record closes nicely with “With This Ring,” a song with verses that get stuck in the head and an excellent breakdown in the bridge. O’Brien offers another good vocal and lyrical performance as he sings “so our betting days are done/they bet a million odds to one.” It ends strong with gang vocals and can ultimately be thought of as a worthy closer as it captures the tone of the record especially in the bridge.
Where to Start. is a record that displays talented song-writing throughout and is an excellent debut. The songs are successful, but that does not mean that there is no room for improvement. When looking at the record individually track by track, it appears strong, but taken as a whole, it doesn’t really command replay immediately like other releases in the genre. The flow of tracks could be better and the hooks (while already quite good) could be stronger to improve that replay value. Still, though, Avenue You have found an excellent place to start with their debut album, and it will be exciting to see where they go in the future as they mature and become even better.