Release Date: February 22nd, 2011
Website: None available
A sophomore record is usually a career defining thing for any band, especially one who are hoping to make a break for the big time over the course of the year. Michigan six-piece, I See Stars are a band who fit into that category. Two years on from their debut ‘3-D’, the band are hoping that their latest offering ‘The End Of The World Party’ will do similar things for them. For anyone who is unfamiliar with the band, their sound can be described as nothing less than the bastard offspring of A Day To Remember and Forever The Sickest Kids. They draw the best, and the worst elements of both bands and wrap them up nicely in a final package that is both “mosh pit friendly” and hooking at the same time.
Amongst heavier offerings here are the opening title track and ‘The Common Hours II’ (and as the title suggests it follows on nicely from its predecessor), that both rattle with ear jolting screams, waves of synthesiser and pounding drums. ‘Over It’ is possibly the best example of the analogy made earlier, mixing sickly sweet powerpop verses, a powerful chorus and forceful screaming and a breakdown thrown in for good measure. Whilst not an entirely original formula, there’s something seemingly fresh about the band’s approach to the music they make, and they seem to know their audience well. This is possibly the reason why on songs like ‘Glow’, ‘Wonderland’ and ‘Upside Down’ stick, effectively to the aforementioned formula, whilst ‘High School Never Ends’ twists and turns nicely through all of their influencing styles.
When they move away from the formula somewhat, they’re actually capable of producing some catchy little pop-punk numbers. ‘Still Not Quite Enough’ and the ironically titled album closer ‘Pop Rock & Roll’ are the best examples of this. They both sound huge and are well executed, with some actual decent musicianship on both, meant with no disrespect to the band, but at times they tend to rely too heavily on the use of the computers.
That would be one of two major complaints about the album. Having seen the band live recently, I know first hand that lead singer Devin Oliver can actually sing, so why the band feel the need to use auto-tune so much is baffling. It plagues every song, without ever really adding much to the final product. The second complaint would be the over use of saccharine powerpop parts, which can at times ruin the mood of a song, and when the band decide to write a whole song based on these ideas, it can turn out as disastrously as ‘Home For The Weekend’.
However, I will choose to ignore the negatives and not let them blemish what should be a positive review. It is clear that big things could await these boys soon, as this album flows from start to finish and is full of all the right ingredients to start any kind of party, be it the end of the world or not.
Written by Oliver Thompson