Quietdrive - Deliverance
Record Label: The Militia Group
Release Date: October 14, 2008
The term "deliverance" is defined as the following:
1. The act of delivering or the condition of being delivered.
2. Rescue from bondage or danger.
It is also defined as "a publicly expressed opinion or judgment, such as the verdict of a jury," and the verdict for Quietdrive's sophomore release, Deliverance, is in: slump.
In a perfect world, slumps wouldn't exist -- we like to see people persevere and succeed; it's the reason why underdog stories are so appealing in nature to us. However, after a rather decent major-label debut, Quietdrive has redirected their sound to be more defined, but merely come off as an even more slickly-produced clone of their former selves. The sound is clean, vapid and dismissive; at first, it's a blast to listen to: opening track "Believe" (Fall Out Boy fans might enjoy this one) and breathy Third Eye Blind-ish "Motivation" are significantly catchy and capture the personality that made their cover of "Time After Time" a good-sized hit. Minus the falsetto backing vocals, "Hollywood" would be a fantastic, darker track and "Take Me Now" is a healthy wall of sound that sounds more like some of the band's earlier work.
After a few more listens, however, the album loses its twinkle; the superiority it hints at topping the debut is quickly crushed upon repeat listens. Therein lies the ultimate problem with this disc -- it's separated by hooks and hits rather than connecting tracks that each contain resonance. With a switch over from major-label Epic to indie The Militia Group, the expectations with this album would be somewhere in-between Cartel and The Rocket Summer, which in all honesty, this is. The loud pop-rock aggression of Cartel with the youthful romanticism of the Rocket Summer would normally bring a forgivable sound to many young bands -- however, this is just a step in the wrong direction; Deliverance is like drawing a "4" during the board game Sorry, having to retreat backwards from your color's safe zone -- it's a step you don't want to take, but unfortunately get pinned to.
Let me back up a second here and beckon all you total disbelievers: it isn't that bad a record; the first half has some solid numbers, but overall, Deliverance lacks the charisma When All That's Left is You presented. Overflowing with over-produced nonsense (the unpalatable and silly "Daddy's Little Girl") and acoustic party jam "Birthday," which is just another stereotypical "oops" song with terrible lyrics ("I'm sorry I forgot your birthday / I thought it was on a Wednesday"), the album is just wrought with moments that try too hard. The double-threat of "Secret" and "Starbright" make for the hardest work of all: the former is a Latin-flavored gothic tune that sounds like a b-side from El Phantomo de la Opera and the latter is a heavy-handed dose of Boys Like Girls-esque pop-balladry. "Afterall" is candidate for oddest catastrophe; it's spastic and mellow all at once, getting more obnoxious after a couple listens.
Kevin Tuckenmiller yearns to be Patrick Stump or Will Pugh, but tries too hard to instill emotion into these songs -- he's much more suited for the booming rock songs ("Promise Me"), which this record lacks a concerning amount of. "Maybe Misery," "Rise Up From the Ashes" and "Take a Drink" were the perfect combination of mainstream appeal and rock aggression, and nothing here carries the same weight. Percussion-happy new-wave single "Pretend" is a good representative choice: terrible lyrics surrounded by a flurry of sounds with an irresistible chorus.
After this half-hearted attempt at recreating pop-rock, it's evident not all bands can soar at this genre like Valencia and Punchline have successfully proven this year. Looks like Quietdrive have produced the most ironic album title of the year -- right now, the only ones in need of rescue are these ne'er-do-wellers.
Good review. And I completely agree with the way it's enjoyable at first, and after so many listens it loses it. I enjoyed it the first few times, and then the more I listen to it, the more I skip to only certain songs.
I find the lyrics on "Birthday" more amusing than anything else. Mostly because the chorus the first time (and I can't find anything to back me up on this one) I swear goes "I'm sorry I forgot your birthday/ I'm sorry because I was shitfaced."
I couldn't pinpoint why I enjoyed this album, and your sounds like explains a lot.
refgirl's right, the lyrics are "i'm sorry cuz i was shitfaced." if you don't take birthday too seriously than you'll probably enjoy it. this is actually a decent album, in my opinion much better than their last.