The Audition – Self Titled

vr486Aritist: The Audition
Album: Self Titled
Genre: pop rock
Label: Victory

I feel that three albums in is a landmark for any act in the modern music scene or at least the “emo” scene. After three records you’ve obviously grown and your writing style generally takes a change as does your sound. Case in point: The Audition. Their ever evolving brand of pop rock has taken a seriously heavy dosage of pop music on their latest offering: Self Titled.

Kicking things in high gear with, “The Running Man,” we get the first signs of this evolution in The Audition – bass lines. The bass has never been absent in The Audition, but this record feels like it got pushed out there, along with the high hat, to add just a dab of foot tapping to nearly every track. Then we find the staccato guitar work of, “My Temperature is Rising,” which does a solid job of showcasing Danny [vocals] new found plateau of songwriting. Forget the cheesy lyrics of Champion and make way for a man writing about how he sees life. I’m not hating on the last record, I loved it, but the writing was much weaker than the debut and this record feels like it gets back to that original style a bit. “Love With A Motive,” the first slower paced track, feels like it was destined for a tween romantic comedy. The band has really orchstrated an album where every track could be a single and that works and fails throughout. There’s only so many simple rhythms I can sit through before I want some intricacy.

Kicking the back half off in acoustic territory, “It’s Gonna Be Hard,” showcases a very mature vocal platter while giving us some of the best production any of their albums have had. This track really comes out of nowhere, but leaves a definite footprint. Immediately following, “Over My Head,” brings the pop full force. From the synth which feels stolen from Lady Gaga to the simplistic chorus and 1-2 beat, it’s obviously looking for radio attention. It’s so catchy though that I couldn’t help, but to give in and let them wow me. Failing to really pull the required heart strings to make, “Los Angeles,” work, the group does recover a bit to finish the record. “Everybody is Someone Else’s Secret,” the ninth track, feels like a Jonas Brothers track with more mature vocal work, but it could easily sell. Now, for the closer, I feel this group have made a name with solid closing tracks. “Have Gun, Will Travel,” knocked me off my feet, so my expectatioins were high and eneded up quite fulfilled. “Sign. Steal. Deliver,” pulses with the maturity and evolved sound this group is capable of and it’s this track that truly makes the album worth your time. It’s full of so much promise for the future that you already feel like you’d buy another record from them. It’s that good.

It’s funny how the sound of a band can grow while the maturity of the song structure can pull a Benjamin Button. I’m not saying Self Titled is the group’s weakest release, in fact it’s more in the middle of the three. Where the lyrics and overall instrumentation has grown, the structure and desire for mainstream attention have gone the wrong way. I just kept feeling like the band was begging for a breakout as opposed to just having written a song that becomes really popular. Although, when all’s said and done, it’s an decent record with a few memorable tracks that’ll keep you coming back for awhile.

Score: 6.5/10

James Shotwell
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