The White Tie Affair – Walk This Way

Band: The White Tie Affair
Album: Walk This Way
Genre: Pop Rock/Dance Rock
Label: Epic

1. Allow Me To Introduce Myself…Mr. Right
2. The Letdown
3. Candle
4. Scene Change
5. Watching You
6. The Enemy
7. Take it Home
8. Price of Company
9. If I Fall
10. The Way Down

Imagine that you had a gigantic blender that was made for mixing music genres. Take three cups of the current scene/dance rock fad, splash on some boy band zeal, and just a pinch of great production and blend on high for 5 minutes. The result of such a concoction would be The White Tie Affair. Walk This Way, the band’s Epic Records debut is a a bit more than a hit/miss grab bag of tracks laced with group harmonies, thick synth, and pulsing drum work. Is it the best thing I’ve heard all year? No. Is it ridiculously catchy? Yes.

Walk This Way opens with the first song the band ever released, “Allow Me To Introduce Myself…Mr. Right,” which also happens to be one of the band’s strongest tracks overall. From a single bass hit, vocalist Chris Wallace comes in with lyrics that tell you a part is about to happen and if that’s the case, this song would be on the playlist. The sound feels fresh even though we’ve had dozens of dance rock releases this year and the pre-chorus and actual chorus are simple irresistible. For days now, I have found myself singing, “She was thinking Mr Right, I was thinking right now,” to the point it’s begun to drive me crazy. Through great synth work, you get really into the song and the drums only work to help that fact. Though, where that track shows a more rock heavy dance track, “The Letdown,” is more of the boy band side of the group. The lyrics and beat feel like an N*sync b-side, but with a solid chorus, you won’t be “letdown.” Once again, we find the drums really standing out [especially in the chorus] along with the groups harmonic skills. This then leads us to, “Candle,” which I think should have been put out in the studio. The synth continuously feels lie it’s building to something, but whatever it amounts to is just so generic that it doesn’t hit at all. The wit of the first tracks and crafty lyrics are absent here and replaced with stale line that just leave a sour feel in your mouth.

“Scene Change,” feels like an R&B band should be following the beat, but Wallace’s voice somehow fits it perfectly. His craft for riding the beats just works quite well and the guitars finally get some light once the heavier chorus comes in. This is the first time the band manages to balance the rock and dance sides equally and the results are quite solid. However, “Watching You,” once again falls a bit flat. Musically, the accent work throughout is astounding, but lyrically, the song just holds nothing of value and it kills the track as Wallace is such a strong vocalist. “The Enemy,” has a weak beat, but a great chorus and Wallace’s vocals save it from the abyss. This is the kind of song you roll down your windows and drive through the city at night while listening to. It’s very listener friendly and ready for clubs.

I almost got a Hellogoodbye feel from, “Take It Home,” but that’s a great thing. However,Wallace doesn’t use the vocal effects of HGB and instead relies on thick harmonies and super catchy beats and lyrics. I usually don’t find repetition in place of actual choruses that great, but here it works perfectly. The entire song has a youthful summer feel to it and just makes you desire to hit repeat and relive it as soon as it ends. We find more of the club friendly sound in, “Price of Company,” but, though it comes as a surprise, Wallace doesn’t work vocally with the verses. He tries to take a rougher, more intense feeling and it just doesn’t work. because we’ve spent the previous seven tracks listening to his accessible pop voice. The band seems to realize this however as the second verse has a different vibe to it. Unfortunately, this makes the track feel a bit uneven. “If I Fall,” brings back the heavier rock influence, but the results are passable. I mean, it’s a good song, but it’s nothing worth digging to deep into. It only serves as a space before the Timberlake influenced, “The Way Down.” Remember Justin Timberlake’s Justified? That’s the kind of vibe this song gives and it’s excellent. Wallace shines on it and so does the bass work. Most of the time, I enjoy epic closers, but this is epic in a way completely different. This is just the band doing what they do the best they can and that’s a perfect design for a closing track.

This band is a summation of everyone’s guilty pleasures [minus rap/hip hop]. The White Tie Affair uses jsut enough pop rock, top 40 pop, and dance rock to craft a unique sound that screams radio play. You can’t say they’re sell out because it’s how they’ve always sounded, but I bet there’s a few older acts that wish they could take on a sound this dynamic. Unfortunately, Walk This Way just doesn’t showcase the band in the best light. I think an EP would have done just fine to give the band some exposure and allow more time to craft a full length. The songs that do go well, are great, but then the filler has an exact opposite effect on it all. Overall, it’s better than par, but still needs some fine tuning. I’m sure with the next round we’ll be completely wowed, but for now, this will do just fine.

*Written By: James Shotwell*
GRADE: 6.5/10

James Shotwell
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