Sometimes recognized as ‘The Australian Paramore,’ Tonight Alive come bombing from the pop-rock underground with this powerful, poignant and potent release. Building on earlier, weaker releases the female fronted band follow in the steps of bands like No Doubt and Hole with hard-hitting girl power.
Opening track The Ocean starts with metal guitar riffs before introducing Jenna Mcdougall’s sweet and lulling vocals against a cacophony of swinging guitars and drum beats steadily falling to high pitched chords throwing the vocals and harsh, poetic lyrics to the forefront. Don’t Wish and Lonely Girl both follow this, punky and hard-hitting tracks with raw, meaningful lyrics cutting right at the heartstrings executed with powerful chords and drum rolls equivalent to rolls of thunder.
This really is an album of two halves, as these tracks strongly juxtapose others such as Hell and Back and personal favourite track, title track The Other Side. Both are effortlessly melodic with a strong focus on Jenna’s soulful vocals to create this effect and other little tweaks such as sudden silences focusing on heartbreaking and poignant lyrics and acoustic interludes, most notable in the latter, encapsulating a whirlwind of raw emotions in a sweet, sombre package.
Songs like Bathwater and Complexes have a heavy emo/pop punk influence, akin to Fall Out Boy back in the days of Take This To Your Grave, incorporating harder edged vocals yet still sweet and soulful with a steadily driving beat reaching a gradual, visceral crescendo.
Weird little gem amongst this package is No Different, sounding exactly like a sea shanty with rising and falling nautical vocals and a thoroughly pirate-like introduction as if straight from Pirates of the Caribbean. It doesn’t sound remotely like anything else within the album, its a strange little deviation from their usual style and shows the pure ability and talent of this relatively unknown band, though not for much longer.
Closing track You Don’t Owe Me Anything ends the release on an atmospheric and moving climax beginning with uplifting lyrics carried by powerful and stirring vocals against spine-tingling keys. As the song progresses, instruments gradually enter the mix creating a layered tapestry of talent with every member working as one to demonstrate what they are made of. It is not a fight for prominence in this song, every element works in harmony which thoroughly reflects this bands career, team work and mutual respect has got them this far and created a sterling release bound to propel them to the top.