Every Avenue - Shh, Just Go With It
Release Date: February 19, 2008
Record Label: Fearless Records
Most mainstream horror films thrive on cheap thrills, some sensationalism, and a defined lack of substance. Perhaps Michigan powerpoppers Every Avenue have watched a few too many horror flicks, because their full-length debut, Shh, Just Go With It, shares many of the same characteristics. The band released a 6-song EP produced by John Naclerio in 2007, and return early in '08 with their first full album for Fearless Records.
With the three-song teaser to open Shh, Just Go With It, Every Avenue actually will surprise many listeners. The nostalgic summer anthem, “Days of the Old” is slightly less contagious than the flu, and far more entertaining. For me, it evoked memories of Yellowcard's “Ocean Avenue” in the feeling it creates. The band relies on warbling pop-punk riffs we've heard before, but singer David Ryan's voice offers a slightly deeper take on what we expect. The vocals are prominent, but don't screech or otherwise detract from a great, albeit somewhat rehashed opener. “This One's a Cheap Shot” displays a thick powerpop sound that frequently roughhouses with the chorus. “Where Were You?” is a re-recorded song from the band's EP that will infiltrate your iPod with its infectious dance-pop sound. For such a pissed-off song, Every Avenue sure makes their anger go down smoothly with the listener. Expect a memorably catchy sing-along, despite the fact that it gets way too repetitive after a while.
Following an admirable start to the album, Every Avenue starts to head downhill. “Think of You Later (Empty Room)” dances somewhere in the mid-tempo range, displaying some interesting guitar riffs, but the chorus comes across too whiny and slow to remain overly relevant by the time you've finished the album. “A Story to Tell Your Friends” and “Boys Will Be Boys” fall somewhere slightly below their predecessor. David Ryan's singing will remind listeners a little of a more polished yet less rangy William Beckett, which could be a good or a bad thing, depending on your preference. Every Avenue manage to pick it up again with “Take a Step Back,” an upbeat pop song that again relies on the first three songs' tried and true formula (razor-sharp guitars and sugary choruses). The band takes a stab at the token piano ballad on "Between You and I," but it doesn't come out as anything spectacular, in part because of the programming that adds to it, and in fact provides annoying thumps that overlay the piano way too much in the mix in a song that already drags on too long. The album closes with the cheery “Chasing the Night,” one of the more upbeat and positive songs on the album, providing a crisp ending to an album that had plenty of ups and downs.
Shh, Just Go With It will keep you safe from those scary movies, but the music itself seems to have cuddled too long with its safety blanket. Instead of taking the opportunity to distance themselves from the pack, Every Avenue have released 5 single-worthy songs and a bunch of filler. If we're going to see this powerpop-punk sound surging on the charts, bands such as Every Avenue need to tighten it up just a bit more, and maybe infuse some creativity—the bad taste in your mouth after this album will almost assuredly be the complaint that you've heard it all before. That said, they've managed to put together a handful of replayable tracks next to the clunkers; admittedly, this CD would be much worse without the tight production from Zack Odom and Kenneth Mount (Cartel, Holiday Parade). Shh, Just Go With It will get feet tapping and panties dropping, but when the end of the year comes around, it will likely be just another regret.
I cannot stand this band. I'd like to show them some love being from Michigan, but this is just cheesy, corny, poppy punk that is horrible. The lyrics make me want to hit myself in the face.
I have no idea how some people consider this band "the next big thing".