Take it Back! – Can’t Fight Robots

Band: Take it Back!
Album: Can’t Fight Robots
Genre: Punk/Hard Rock
Label: Facedown

1. Standing On The Edge of Hope
2. Times Have Changed
3. Together, Burning Bright!
4. These Days
5. Lights in This Town
6. A New Day
7. The Truth
8. Knees To The Earth
9. Time Waits for No Man
10. A Struggle To Stay Standing
11. Act Your Age, Not Your Shoe Size
12. All That Keeps Us Strong

Sometimes I think Fearless records knows exactly what I want to hear in the industry and then they try to find it and ship it to us here at UTG. Not that long ago I was explaining to a friend how I missed hearing songs like, “Wake The Dead,” from Comeback Kid and even though CK is still around, it just hadn’t been the same on the last album. Fast forward 3 weeks and what should If find, but a band that reproduces that great raw feel I was talking about! Take It Back [!], one of the newest signees to Facedown Records, just released their debut album entitled, Can’t Fight Robots. The result? Well, unlike most Facedown bands, this is more rock and punk driven hardcore, but still the band has a bit of work ahead of them if they want to make a name for themselves outside the pack.

Robots begins with one of the best opening tracks of the year. “Standing On The Edge of Hope,” sounds like old Comeback Kid with a clean gloss coating and all the fury still in tact. from the first cry of, “Please tell me how we got here,” you are mentally thrown into a frenzy only found in dirty rock clubs filled with overly anxious teenagers dealing with teen issues by dancing and throwing down. This is the kind of song that becomes anthems for groups of friends and that’s never more obvious than when the gang vocals come in with, “there’s more to life than these four friends.” Not only is it a positive message, it’s one youth need to hear and can relate to. The feedback closing out the track feeds seamlessly into, “Times Have Changed,” which begins in a way that makes you think it will be a song of epic proportion, but with a quick vocal lead in, all the momentum the intro built goes the way of nothing as punk riffs take over with two step ready beats. That isn’t the real flaw of the song however, that comes in the fact that the chorus is at nearly the same pitch as the verse and with no real change it makes everything just run together into one long 4 minute section [though some gang vocals do a nice spurt of fun to it]. This is followed with the Set Your Goals-esque “Together, Burning Bright,” which helps the band regain some of the footing lost on the previous track while changing directions from a more old school hardcore sound to near to a near pop punk style. The synth work on the back half really takes the band to a good place sound wise, but it is short lived.

“Lights in This Town,” the 4th album track, starts with vocals almost reminiscent of The Dropkick Murphys during the, “Walk Away,” era, but then goes back into quick one-two drum work and crunching guitars. This is a big hindrance to the band on the entirety of the album; they start to use these really original and good ideas, but then go back into the punk/hardcore safety zone and though no momentum is lost, they become another band you can only talk about when referencing other acts. There’s two solid examples of this on, “Lights,” as some light piano and vocals on the bridge through the end really get you going before the track unfortunately ends. Lucky for us, the follow up track, entitled, “A New Day,” is one of the best on the disc. From accompanying acoustic guitar over the rough intro, to a spoken word bridge, this song gets all the mini ideas just write and shows the band’s strength for structuring their songs.

On the back half of the disc, Take It Back gives a mixed back of tricks before closing big. “Knees to The Earth,” which is the heaviest and most approachable song on the album. It has the makings of the closing number for a live show. Anything previous on the album that fumbled is forgotten during this track, but then comes flooding back on the stumbling, “Time Waits For No Man,” but is regained with ferocious gang vocals which end the song. The two following tracks, “A Struggle To Stay Standing,” and, “Act Your Age, Not Your Shoe Size,” are both fast songs made for crowds forming circle pics, but just don’t grab you recorded on a disc. The last track however, is pretty close to perfection. From a piano laced introduction to the very heavy comeback kid influence, each measure of, “All That Keeps us Strong,” plays with more heart than most bands put in a whole album. The band comes alive here and shows that though they may have had some mistakes, they can pull it together to make an epic track worthy of repetitive plays. It’s the kind of solid track any band would hope to have to close out an album.

In the case of Take It Back, Can’t Fight Robots feels more like a band riding on training wheels than a full blown debut release. Their self-proclaimed influences come through more than the band themselves and there are a lot of different avenues taken which don’t always work or get carried out. This is pretty typical for a debut release so I won’t hold it against them too much because if, “All That Keeps Us Strong,” is any sign of this band’s musical capacity, the next time we hear from these boys, we may just be talking album of the year contenders. However, for Can’t fight Robots, may I suggest checking the band out live before buying this album as it feels like a record made for a venue setting It’s rocky, but far from horrible. We here at UTG just know these guys can do great things, so we won’t settle for mediocrity by praising this album to the fullest because it is flawed. Just rest assured, you want to keep your eyes on these guys.

*Written By: James Shotwell*
GRADE: 5.5/10

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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