Firescape – Dancehall Apocalypse
Record Label: Red Int / Red Ink
Release Date: June 12, 2007
Though perhaps not always mentioned in the same breath as New Found Glory, Saves the Day, and Blink 182, one could extract from many of this site's members the attribution of their current music tastes to the pop-punk band Something Corporate. Having broken into the better portion of the music scene in 2001 with their debut effort Audioboxer, the Californian four piece impressed many with their unique form of pop-punk, never lacking the subtle coexistence of both catchy melodies and obvious intellectual meaning. With the group's temporary break in 2004 came much anticipation as to how the respected members would satisfy their musical partialities; predictably enough, most of this excitement was directed toward Jack's Mannequin, the solo project of the group's vocalist Andrew McMahon. Since then, McMahon has gone on to achieve all that could have been expected, releasing Everything in Transit in 2005 and earning fame beyond that of his former stature as SoCo's lead man. Not having half the polarizing status as McMahon, the group's guitarist Josh Partington constructed his own project Firescape in 2004, releasing the EP Rearden's Conscience the very same year. Long awaited for by the humble mass that had gathered around Partington, the group planned to release their first full-length in 2007.
Let me start out by saying, first and foremost, that I do fall into that category of music listeners that I had earlier alluded to. Something Corporate was indeed one of those bands that grabbed my attention as an open minded young lad. With this humble recognition in consideration, perhaps I am a bit biased in reviewing the group's side projects, but I'll let the readers form their own opinions on the notion. I should state, however, that I am not near as high on Jack's Mannequin as most other members on this site. I did however pulse, even if ever so slightly, with excitement when given the option of receiving Firescape's Dancehall Apocalypse in exchange for the album's review, which I would plan to be extensive, no doubt. I will now cease with the history lessons and such trivial explorations into the initial perceptions and get down to the actual reviewing.
Having already heard four of Dancehall Apocalypse's twelve tracks, I was rendered rather clueless at to how the album's chronological structure was formatted: the album's opening two tracks are perhaps the most lackluster of the compilation's entirety (with the first being my least favorite by far) and leagues below some of their successors. Both "Right from the Start" and "The Sound" are noticeably generic in their general style, and though the vocals are better on the latter song, are mediocre in most of their musical aspects. How ever oddly it may seem, however, the album springs forward into four incredible tracks, all sporting solid musicianship, applicable vocals, exceptional production, and damn catchy choruses. My favorite of the bunch is "The Way You Are," which maintains a more edgy tone and overpowering vocals in the chorus. The following three ("Impossible," "Breathe In," and "Oh No") are the tracks that are traceable to the band's MySpace, so, therefore, are some of the more publicly accessible products, though the entire album may fall under that label. "Impossible" and "Oh No" (being favored at my hand) are a bit more emotional and passionate than the others, with "Breathe In" being more upbeat and optimistic in its lyrical substance. Skipping a couple tracks, the album's ninth track, "This Feels," is another one of my favorites, being a bit moodier, more realistic, and lyrically introspective as it addresses wanting to experience all that one can while the time is ripe. Again skipping a couple, I'll address the album's last track, "Sleeping". Let me first indicate to the readers that an album's concluding track is always important to my entire perception of the product, seeing as it is the album's lynch pin if you will. With that, "Sleeping" is an amazing track. It is most definitely, lyrically, the album’s strongest extension. Spanning from echoing acoustics to overwhelming passion, the song projects such beauty and profound emotion that it's enough to surely raise erections all across the glorious female teen fan base (this is metaphorical, do understand; I have no thoughts that our girls are boys).
Overall, despite a distinct lack of creativity and distinction from the mainstream, Dancehall Apocalypse is an absolutely delectable pop-rock album. It's very well-produced, which improves upon the average vocals, and really doesn't withhold any real weak points.
I find a delight, also, in mentioning that, upon seeing the band's "thank you's" the group has chosen to thank absolutepunk.net in a short list that also contained AP popularity queen Hawthorne Heights. Yes, just a fun little factoid.
Recommended if you like: Between Home and Serenity, Spitalfield, Alkaline Trio