REVIEW: Alive In Standby – ‘Never Ending’

alive in standby

Artist: Alive in Standby
Album: Never Ending
Genre: Progressive Pop-Punk

Alive in Standby have long been known for being wise beyond their years, displaying complexity and technicality rarely seen from teenage musicians. In 2011, the group released an impressive EP entitled Dream Status, which captured the attention of listeners around the world and flung the band into a whirlwind of tours and well-deserved exposure. Now, almost three full years later, the band has emerged from their cocoon to present their first full-length, Never Ending.

Unlike their previous release, which consisted of a mix of brutal post-hardcore breakdowns and soaring cleans rivaling the work of Jonny Craig, listeners will find the second chapter of Alive in Standby jumps off into an entirely different direction.

Having traded out a few members and dropped from a quintet to a quartet has clearly affected the way the band operates, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be disappointed. To start, the unclean vocals have been largely reduced, making appearances in only a few of the new tracks. In addition, the electronic sequences have been traded for pianos and cleaner guitar tones, while the overall flavor of the band has moved into more of a heavy pop-punk. Think State Champs, The Starting Line, or The Body Rampant.

The opening track, “Punch My Face,” really sets the tone for the record with its angsty lyrics and driving pop-punk back beat. You’ll still catch some of the band’s hardcore roots in the guitar work, plus a sprinkling of piano that will become more present as the album continues. Next up, the single, “Stay Eighteen”; a slightly sugary pop track that could definitely be called radio-friendly.

Hardcore junkies, the third track is for you. “Not Aware” brings in heavier use of syncopated rhythms and pinch harmonics. It’s also where harsh vocals appear for the first time. The guys even slip in an instrumental breakdown for the moshers before dropping back into a catchy chorus that will get stuck in your head immediately. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, “After Hours” appears; a soft interlude about a girl that marks the first of three emotionally-driven slow songs that are evenly dispersed through Never Ending.

The album continues to impress through all 10 tracks and will provide no shortage of surprises. I honestly cannot say enough about the depth that Alive in Standby shows in this record. Perhaps even more impressive- these songs we’re written years ago, which is a testament to the band’s abilities, since Never Ending feels more like it was written last week.

Hardcore fans will be a little disappointed in the softer, more mature Alive in Standby, but the group has crafted a much more accessible sound that fans will really enjoy singing along to. In short, don’t let Alive in Standby fall below your radar- they’ve re-defined the music you love, and they’ll do it again.

SCORE: 9/10
Review written by Scott Murray

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