The Victory Year - The World Is Waiting For You Label: Unsigned Producers: Mike Ofca and J.C. Gallo Release Date: April 10, 2007
"And I'm a lover, not a fighter / A dreamer and a writer."
The phrase that helps start (and subsequently finish) the Pennsylvania pop-punk quartet The Victory Year's self-released debut album is one that speaks many truths: here to start their own revolution, they are a band of young men who want to blaze their own trail, and write songs that tell people a story. Like many other fresh-faced bands starting off, their songs reflect the lives they are currently living and all the emotional weight carried on their backs.
The World Is Waiting For You, the band's first full-length record, has been an ongoing process for several years (the album's booklet says it was recorded through the years of 2003-2007), and it shows. Many of the song's are about the struggles of being in a band and on the road, and also, the aspirations of finding success and, ultimately, fulfillment.
Made up of brothers Joshua and J.C. Gallo (who started the band in 2001) handling guitar, bass and vocal duties, along with Matt Kibe on guitar/vocals and Scott Maniglia on drums, the inspiration for their brand of raw-sounding pop-punk is worn brightly on their sleeves (think earlier Punchline and Student Rick). Vocalist J.C. Gallo (who also helps co-produce the disc) sounds somewhere along the lines of Spitalfield frontman Mark Rose and legendary Saves The Days vocalist Chris Conley, back when both were just beginning. Gallo's voice is somewhat whiny and high-pitched, but works for this kind of music, and much like Rose and Conley, his voice will likely improve over time. The rest of the band is impressive, and for a self-released disc, it all sounds very well mixed and put together, sounding as tight as any band on a small indie label would...or perhaps even better.
Many of the lyrics can come across as fairly cliche and repetitive ("We make plans just to break them"), which keeps the disc from truly finding its identity, as it displays nothing completely memorable. It's hard to describe any album as "generic" because what is redundant to some, may not be for others. And at 14 tracks and 51 minutes, the disc does tend to overstay its welcome - and some of the songs seem overdrawn, with some choruses being repeated too much and too often.
The Victory Year are a work in progress though, and as a band still gettings its feet wet, they will make forgivable mistakes their first time around. Their album isn't a complete loss; the disc serves up as much potential as early recordings from bands like Punchline, The Movielife and Less Than Jake did. Some of it may sound somewhat sloppy and redundant, but as time goes on, bands grow and mature a great deal from being out on the road.
Tracks like "Episode" and "Out of Reach" are heartfelt, poetic words about real people in real situations, concerning loneliness and disdain for themselves. Other songs ("Chances, Scars and Ups & Downs," "Soundtrack") are musings from the eyes of a jumpstart rock band trying to keep a positive perspective not only on the road they're on, but the road that lie ahead.
Like the illustration that graces the cover of their album, The Victory Year will evolve and change in coming years. Still young and still learning, the band will eventually take their rawer pop-punk sound and transform it into something the likes of their inspirations have done. And hopefully, we'll all be there to witness it.
1. Favorite (Intro)
2. Miss Veronica
3. This Is A Team Effort
5. Take On The World
6. Chances, Scars and Ups & Downs
8. My Cinderella Story
9. That Is So You
10. Out of Reach
11. Your Disaster
13. So This Is It
14. Favorite (Outro)
J.C. Gallo: vocals/bass
Joshua Gallo: guitar
Matt Kibe: guitar/vocals
Scott Maniglia: drums