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The Graduate - Anhedonia Album Cover

The Graduate - Anhedonia

Reviewed by
8.6
The Graduate - Anhedonia
Produced by: Brian McTernan
Record Label: Icon MES Records
Released: April 10th, 2007

The definition of the term anhedonia (used mainly in psychology) is one's inability to experience pleasure from everyday things one would normally gain pleasure from (such as eating food, being with friends, having sex or exercising). Funny how just one small word that titles an album can sum up so much perfectly.

Hailing from Springfield, Illinois, pop-rock quintet The Graduate have made one of 2007's most alluring albums that ropes you in with it's self-deprecating wordplay on the trials and tribulations of becoming an adult and it's atmosphere of misery and moodiness. Almost acting as if it is a concept album on leaving high school (hence the name) and finding a life worth leading that makes you feel important and happy, it's the voice of a generation and is likely to be an enormous hit. It's an album that practically stamps the words "guaranteed success" on it and helps all the buzz that has been building for over a year on this band finally come to life.

The dynamics of the band lie mainly within its lead singer and songwriter, Corey Warning, who writes apathetic lyrics about leaving home, being lonely, trying to figure out those around you and, most importantly, making mistakes and learning how to fix them - and yourself. With such disdain for the character at the central focus of these songs, it makes it seem like Warning is hating on himself and those he has left behind. For all we can assume though, it's not songs about himself, but songs for all of us out there, growing up and facing crucial real-world decisions that involve sacrifice and challenges we never want to face. All in all, Anhedonia is the best word the band could have used to title their record, especially when you realize what it means after you listen to the album.

Consisting of five members - Warning (vocals/guitar/keyboards), Matt Kennedy (lead guitar/keyboards), Tim Moore (drums), Max Sauer (guitar/vocals), Jared Wuestenberg (bass) - the Graduate doesn't single out one member - besides Warning, who has the lead vocal duties - with their talent. The music blends together so well in such a natural way, it almost seems like you can't decipher one instrument from the other. The sound swarms around itself and takes every note in, giving it a very emotional and (as I said before) atmospheric life. The album reminds me a lot of the way I felt when I first heard Phantoms by Acceptance, except the difference between those two bands and their debut full-lengths is that I relate more to Anhedonia's lyrics.

"Sit & Sink" is one of those bridgetop sing-along anthems that you and all of your buddies sing aloud on a late-night summer, with Warning chanting during the chorus, "I don't think you've got the guts / I don't think you've got it in you," talking about leaving everything behind for something new, a common theme throughout the disc. We then seamlessly move into "I Survived," a song that details leaving your sorry hometown for a place that makes you feel alive again. Warning's lyrics come off as increasingly bitter and morose, saying "So this is goodbye / After months of situation, I can finally leave this sorry town behind." It's something we all know too well after getting out of high school, and it is displayed prominently throughout the songs.

Speeding things up a bit with the pop-punk gem "Bet It All," we then get into one of the very best offerings from the album: its title track. Moody and desperate, you can feel the stinging sweat of somebody lurking through a crowd, trying aimlessly to feel enthused in a place that offers nothing. Warning's voice works quite well, and as time progresses, it is sure to be something of wonder. Producer Brian McTernan (Senses Fail, Thrice) is working with a different kind of band than he normally does, and he is able to put a lot of crunch and power into their sound, especially when they rip into the choruses.

"The City That Reads" has a chorus that wanes a tad near the end, but overall, the song is an anthem for the lonely and could actually be mistaken for a Christmas song, talking about the worst time of the year to be by yourself, the holiday season. "Better Company" demands attentions, displaying Warning's rather impressive falsetto during its soft chorus, while sounding like an earlier Jimmy Eat World piece. The slow-building "Surround Yourself" discusses unrequited love and missing the one person who means the most to you, but you couldn't bear to open up to. Out of all the songs on the disc, this one seems to cry out "fan favorite" the most.

Next, we have the most atmospheric song on the album, the 2 minutes 26 seconds of "Interlude," which takes old-school 80's new-wave and mixes in soft female vocals into its background. It's one of those songs that makes you realize this is a disc that belongs in headphones, because we are then sent directly into the more upbeat "Doppleganger". Its theme of determination and fear make it one of the deeper songs on the record, with lyrics like "My dreams haunt me in my sleep ... / I've got direction in my craze / To keep trying for another day / Who needs perception anyway?"

"Stay The Same" is about the return to torment, as Warning sings, "All the names and faces change / But the problems stay the same," therefore making it seem like the solution has been the problem all along. The album's hardest song (and only the second song to be re-recorded from the band's EP Horror Show), "Justified" is rousing and energetic, but the album's weakest number. The final song, "Sing," is about fessing up to your mistakes and finally being able to realize the one you left is the one person who means it all, and is worth going through the trouble for. "Your voice flows / In a song I could not compose / You heart can sing / In a key that fits with anything." Lyrics such as that make it not only touching and sweet, but genuine, too. The song is a beautiful final touch to an album that tells a story that winds up coming full circle.

Anhedonia could very well be an album many become engrossed with for what it has to say and how it says it all, and not just because it has catchy hooks or sounds good. It could actually be an album that people find something within and like for all of its bits and pieces that form the whole.

The most ironic part of it all is that, for an album that names itself from a medical condition that deludes one from pleasure, it's peculiar that all it will give the listener is nothing but good feelings and solitude.

Choice Cuts: "Anhedonia," "I Survived" and "Surround Yourself".

Listen: www.absolutepunk.net/thegraduate
This review is a user submitted review from Chris Fallon. You can see all of Chris Fallon's submitted reviews here.
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 40
10:26 PM on 04/05/07
#2
Jason Tate
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Very well written review, I agree with all of your statements. I think this album is in the same vein as Midtown's Living Well and a little old-school Yellowcard. I think this could very well be album that brings people back to this genre that may have "out grown it" as well as influences a younger generation.

Great album, highly recommended by me. Probably the best new band of 2007.
10:50 PM on 04/05/07
#3
Chris Fallon
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Very well written review, I agree with all of your statements. I think this album is in the same vein as Midtown's Living Well and a little old-school Yellowcard. I think this could very well be album that brings people back to this genre that may have "out grown it" as well as influences a younger generation.

Great album, highly recommended by me. Probably the best new band of 2007.

Thanks Jason, I appreciate the kind words.

First time I listened to this album, I thought of Midtown and Coldplay. I definitely think this will be one of those albums people think of in the same regard as Dude Ranch, Take This To Your Grave and Clarity. You'll always hear people talking about it and the first time they heard it.
11:36 PM on 04/05/07
#4
thatwasamoment
RICH GANNON WAR WAGON
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Reviewing The Graduate is a daunting task, knowing it will be the best cd of our scene this year, but you did very well.

Can't wait to pick this up.
01:17 AM on 04/06/07
#5
givens34
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What an amazing cd... Very impressive for a first full-length album!!! Nice review overall on thier album... I can't wait to see these guys again. Its a must... don't hesitate to pick up this cd and rock out to it. These guys are pationate about what they do and you can see that in their stage performance. There will definatley be many more great albums from these guys.
04:36 AM on 04/06/07
#6
The Get Up Kid
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Very well written review, I agree with all of your statements. I think this album is in the same vein as Midtown's Living Well and a little old-school Yellowcard. I think this could very well be album that brings people back to this genre that may have "out grown it" as well as influences a younger generation.

Great album, highly recommended by me. Probably the best new band of 2007.

I can't believe on the review of this cd on amazon.com it has the above quote from you saying Best New Artist of 2007!!! That's pretty cool that they're quoting you. Also did you know that they do this?

Editorial Reviews
Jason Tate, AbsolutePunk.net, March 2007
"Best New Artist of 2007"

Product Description
THE GRADUATE have gone from virtual unknowns to gracing the cover of CMJ magazine in a matter of just a few short months. THE GRADUATE are currently gearing up for the release of ANHEDONIA, their debut full-length album. The quintet aims to surpass the success of their previous independently released "The Horror Show" EP which garnered the title of `number one most added in college radio' at the end of 2006. Anhedonia was produced by acclaimed producer Brian McTernan(Circa Survive, Senses Fail, and Thrice). at Salad Days Studios in Baltimore, MD. So far the record has been receiving acclaim from both fans and critic's everywhere. Absolutepunk.net has named the band "Best New Artist of 2007". The band will be busy touring for the rest of the year with upcoming tours with Jacks Mannequin, The Audition, Punchline, All Time Low, and even a spot on the 2007 Vans Warped Tour.
09:39 AM on 04/06/07
#7
get2sammyb
I'll Meet You There...
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lol that's crazy ^
09:55 AM on 04/06/07
#8
dpatrickguy
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my only problem with this cd is that i wish interlude was an actual full song. it would be amazing.
09:56 AM on 04/06/07
#9
I was Brad
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This is straight up an amazing cd, everytime i hear it i hear something i hadnt before. I agree best new artist in 07. these guys r going somewhere.
10:00 AM on 04/06/07
Jason Tate
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I can't believe on the review of this cd on amazon.com it has the above quote from you saying Best New Artist of 2007!!! That's pretty cool that they're quoting you. Also did you know that they do this?

Editorial Reviews
Jason Tate, AbsolutePunk.net, March 2007
"Best New Artist of 2007"

Product Description
THE GRADUATE have gone from virtual unknowns to gracing the cover of CMJ magazine in a matter of just a few short months. THE GRADUATE are currently gearing up for the release of ANHEDONIA, their debut full-length album. The quintet aims to surpass the success of their previous independently released "The Horror Show" EP which garnered the title of `number one most added in college radio' at the end of 2006. Anhedonia was produced by acclaimed producer Brian McTernan(Circa Survive, Senses Fail, and Thrice). at Salad Days Studios in Baltimore, MD. So far the record has been receiving acclaim from both fans and critic's everywhere. Absolutepunk.net has named the band "Best New Artist of 2007". The band will be busy touring for the rest of the year with upcoming tours with Jacks Mannequin, The Audition, Punchline, All Time Low, and even a spot on the 2007 Vans Warped Tour.
I knew they were using a quote on some posters ... but didn't know they included it on the amazon listing; that's pretty cool!
01:54 PM on 04/06/07
jusscali
EMO REVIVAL IS FOR BITCHES
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I definitely think Dopple is the weakest track and not justified. Still prefer the stripped down versions of sit and sink and justified. Great album for sure.

They were the best band of 2006 for me, this just made it better.
03:23 PM on 04/06/07
saving jonathan
everything in transit
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i didn't know if it was possible to live up to the amazing horrow show ep that i downloaded from this very site earlier this year. but listening to the full length, i'm happy these boys have left me with no doubt in my mind. great band, great music.
03:23 PM on 04/06/07
dpatrickguy
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I definitely think Dopple is the weakest track and not justified. Still prefer the stripped down versions of sit and sink and justified. Great album for sure.

They were the best band of 2006 for me, this just made it better.

doppleganger is one of the best songs on it
05:56 PM on 04/06/07
Julia Conny
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"The City That Reads" is my personal favorite. God, I love this band.
03:20 PM on 04/07/07
sam42004
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Great review, I really dug the writing and was enjoyable reading. Not only because they are one of my favorite bands, but because it was well written.

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