So They Say – Life In Surveillance
Release Date: October 9, 2007
Record Label: Fearless
We’ve all seen this happen in high school. There was always that one girl, who was kinda cute, but not someone you’d date. Then summer vacation comes around, you don’t see her for a few months, and then the first day of school rolls up and you see her and notice that she’s the hottest girl in school.
That’s how I would describe So They Say (yes, I just compared them to the hot girl in your Spanish class).
The St. Louis quartet exploded on the scene in 2005 with their self-titled EP and gained a moderate fan base. In 2006, they released their debut album, Antidote For Irony, on Fearless, which was greeted by a lukewarm response, only furthering the cause that, yeah, this band has potential, but will they ever reach it? Well, with their third release in as many years, So They Say have finally developed into their own with Life In Surveillance.
Armed with a producer better suited to the band’s style (Matt Hyde), Life is an eleven track journey that assaults their previous work. The improvement is imminent on the first track, “Just Forget My Name,” which is a hard-hitting number with fine dual vocals from Joseph Hamilton and David Schroeder. The vocal work between the two is done well throughout the album and is executed very nicely on “These Nights Are Long.”
“Wake Me Up” literally does what the title suggests, with huge, crunching guitars and intense work behind the kit from Justin Hanson. This song is going to be the new fan favorite at So They Say shows. “I Won’t Tell” is an intense track with a huge breakdown, while “Whisper Of Sin” tones it down a bit. “You’re Welcome” shreds throughout, giving So They Say the bite they were lacking at times on the debut.
Tracks like “Close Range” and “A Defeated Accomplishment” keep the rapid tempo steady, while “The Hand Of God” slaps you across the face with soaring guitars. The album closes with “Nuclear Sunrise,” which is probably the most disappointing song on the album. Lacking the intensity the previous 10 tracks had, the song just kind of putters along and ends the album on a low note, though it doesn’t take away from how solid Life In Surveillance is.
As witnessed on this album, So They Say has matured into their music. While at times, the music can drone on and there are moments where the music blends together, Life In Surveillance is a mainly consistent record that hits hard and hits often. So just like that girl in your school, the album may be underrated by many, but soon enough, Life In Surveillance could become your obsession.
I was definitely surprised by this album...a lot better than their debut.
Some small things I would rate differently:
- Vocals would get a lower score -- think they are pretty poor at times
- Production would get a much higher score -- Hyde really embraced this band's sound in a way Squire never can.
Overall, there is not enough to bring me back to this record after a few listens, it does a much better job of displaying the band's sound and live energy for an overall improvement.
Overall, there is not enough to bring me back to this record after a few listens,
Steve I think you hit it perfectly. I really liked this album the first time, still liked it the second time, and am now pretty much bored by it. No staying power whatsover for me. "Your Welcome" is a great song, but somehow nothing about this album really holds up. I can't imagine wanting to go back and listen to this CD a couple weeks from now, let alone months or years.
Drew, really good review...although I'd have to disagree that they really developed or hit their potential. To me they are nothing more than a talented, but overall average rock band.
I will have a better understanding of production after I get my copy (hopefully) today, but I really like its sound compared to their previous work...It seems to be a bit more straight up rock and the song Nuclear Sunrise is going to sound amazing in headphones
I don't understand your reference.... this band isn't very well known, or "hot" in any sense. This album is not good... and If I see one more tree as an album cover, I'm just gonna snap.And Drew, your review doesn't fit your rating.
i enjoyed their last album a good ammount.
however, when i saw them live, it seemed like they didn't even want to be on stage. big letdown.
i don't know if i'll check this out or not, good review though drew.