I Call Fives - I Call Fives
Release Date: July 10, 2012
Record Label: Pure Noise Records
On I Call Fives’ self-titled debut full-length, there is a song called “Stuck In ’03.” It starts out with a cool pop-punk guitar riff and then Jeff Todd belts out with his nasally vocals: “I was listening to Take This To Your Grave, So Long Astoria and Nothing Gold Can Stay / They said I’m filling my head with nonsense / And I’m throwing my life away.”
Dude, yeah. I love those albums! Middle school was a great time except for when I got lost in a mall in Washington, D.C. on the class field trip. But there’s one problem with being stuck in 2003, and that’s the fact that 2003 came and went a while ago. I’m very nearly a college graduate now and if I get lost, my iPhone has a great GPS in it. While I Call Fives have put together their best set of songs for their first full-length album, it just feels too recycled at this point. This is a band that’s been around for a lot longer than most people realize – they formed in 2006 – and after over five years together, it might just be true that I Call Fives’ chance has run its course. And it’s really bad timing, too, because this is a band that I want to see succeed. Multiple member changes and a variety of setbacks have made it take this long for the group to actually release a full-length, and even though it’s great to see perseverance like that, the truth is that I Call Fives doesn’t offer up many reasons to keep coming back.
Right off the bat, I can say that this is a very good effort at the generic poppy pop-punk formula. This record is pretty comparable to All Time Low’s So Wrong It’s Right, but that comparison comes with its pros and cons. The first half of this album proves its catchiness – it’s simply rabid. “Late Nights” is a fist-pumping opener, the riff in “The Fall Guy” was written with a crowd jumping up and down in mind, and the formerly released “Backup Plan” is a textbook pop-punk number. So why does I Call Fives feel so flat? Well, after the short, under-a-minute, Fall Out Boy-esque “Enemy,” which slides in as the sixth of 12 songs, it’s almost like the record just restarts.
This song is really catchy … this song has a sweet riff … Jeff Todd really soars in this chorus … we already heard all of this, and we just heard it on the first half of the record. The album is empty of variety. Truth be told, it’s not unlike the Bad Advice EP, which I reviewed in 2010. It’s not unlike the Someone That’s Not You EP, which I reviewed earlier this year. I gave both of those EPs positive reviews. But maybe there’s something to the logic here – maybe I Call Fives is tragically just an “EP band.” Maybe it’s preferable to get a 16-minute dose of some of the better poppy pop-punk I’ve heard recently than it is to get this full 32-minute dose. Maybe that’s why I feel the urge to change the album after those first six songs…I just don’t want to flip the record over and listen to the same stuff again.
As I wrote in my review of Forever Came Calling’s Contender, it all just boils down to simple personal preference at some point. While these two records, and With The Punches’ Seams and Stitches, are really not all that different, I drastically favor one over the other two. And as I wrote in that review, it doesn’t fully make sense. If you are a diehard fan of this genre, if pop-punk fills your ears day and night, you will adore this record and beg for more I Call Fives. Unfortunately, I probably would have felt the same way if they had released this in 2009, which would have been more or less the proper timeframe for a first LP.
The scene has raced past while I Call Fives has struggled to find the starting blocks, with the band’s peers offering up more complex and intriguing works. They may be totally different in the realm of pop-punk, but broadly speaking, there is a huge gap between what is exhibited here and what was shown off by bands like Transit, The Wonder Years, Fireworks and many more around this time last year. In the overall scheme of things, those are the bands I will return to, while I Call Fives and the band’s past work may find its 15 minutes of playtime while I’m driving my friends around on a warm day. It siphons down to bad timing – I Call Fives is a great group of guys who are talented pop-punk songwriters, but this record is simply overshadowed by other, better releases in 2012. If only we were all still in 2003.
I understand where you're coming from, Thomas, but I absolutely adored this record. Maybe I'm just one of those pop-punk fans that loves all things pop-punk, but I Call Fives is a band I've really grown to love, and this record definitely makes me see why. Even if it is just poppy pop-punk with no variety, that's why I like it so much.
I must say, your point of view doesn't make much sense too me. People always say on this site that Pop-Punk isn't as good as it used to be and here you're saying this isn't as good as it could be because it belongs in the past where this genre was claimed to be at its peek. Just saying...
Out of all the major Pop-Punk albums released this year, I go back to this one more than any other so for me, that says their doing something right, while I do very much agree that there is room for a lot of improvement with these guys, I think you are being a little harsh. Vocals should at least be a 9, Jeff has an amazing voice. But an opinion is an opinion!
As far as score is concenrend I would have rated it 7 or 7.5/10. But really, the score is more an indication than anything else to me. The words are what's most important in a review. While I like this record, it's not AOTY material. Granted, originality is not what's at stake in pop-punk, but I agree with Thomas here. It's been heard before. Most songs, while catchy as fuck, are almost rip-offs of NFG. The vocals (really the strongest thing about the record) give a poppy and Cartel feel, which is really cool. And for a band around for that long, this record falls a bit short and I still think their 1st EP si their most personnal work so far, which is odd.
Not saying the review is bad or that you don't love pop punk but honestly maybe you should let another person on the site do the reviews for upcoming pop punk albums for a while. There are some albums that really stand out but in all honestly the best thing about most pop punk is that it is catchy, fast pace, and something you can sing along to. I don't think anyone listens to pop punk to hear something new and exciting even if they do in the process. I think you may of lost interest in pop punk after listening to it for so long and probably need a break. The genre seems to mean a lot to you so maybe its just for the best you give yourself a break. I did that over for almost half a year and it really helps.