Many moons ago, well, 2010 to be more exact, Tonight Alive had just arrived with their debut release, ‘All Shapes & Disguises’, which was half full of pop-punk tracks dripping with potential and excitement. The success of Paramore gave a new bunch of female fronted bands in the genre a fast track to success, and just like the ‘Still Into You’ outfit, Tonight Alive have taken a large step away from their early musical direction, but in a far less creative or impressive capacity.
The band’s last album, ‘The Other Side’, took a step towards emotional alternative rock and vocalist Jenna McDougall started dressing like she was in Guano Apes, but ‘Limitless’ has arrived as an indifferent and uninteresting pop album for a middle-age mum audience.
‘Limitless’ starts off on the wrong fit with an auto-tuned intro on ‘To Be Free’, which then builds up to the bland riff that ponders along in almost every track on the album; the guitars have gone walkabouts, and the stretched “woah”s are as unimaginative as they could be.
There’s a more electronic presence on these songs, as heard on ‘Everywhere’, but the sound that’s being produced is a haze and difficult to pull anything out from. Expect to see Tonight Alive all dressed in white on stage with just a large blue light behind them, creating silhouettes so they can blur into their own background as a metaphor.
‘How Does It Feel?’ starts with as much aggression as you would expect from the Sydney band, but, literally 15 seconds in, the “woah” fest is back and the charade is so tiresome after just track 5. If you can get past the auto-tuned and overproduced intro on ‘I Defy’, which would be impressive bearing in mind you’ve already had to do exactly the same on ‘To Be Free’, then there’s almost a rock song in there, but, still, after a few listens, you wouldn’t be able to pick it out of a police line-up.
The endgame of the band doesn’t seem overly clear here. Fans of the first albums won’t have any interest or relation in ‘Limitless’, and the only place this could hold up in the UK would be on BBC Radio 2. ‘Waves’ stinks of a solo artist past their best, and ‘Oxygen’ is the slow, pants fourth single from the record you’d hear from a young pop singer, that charts at 35 instead of the normal top 3. It’s impossible to know just what Tonight Alive will churn out next, but surely it can’t be as alienating and irrelevant as this.
Written by Mike Heath (@MikeBeef)