–By Keith Brake
On Friday January 12, 2018 Hopeless Records released the latest album from Tonight Alive, Underworld. The album is the fourth released from the Australian Power Pop group since 2011. The latest effort seems to be a very deep and personal collection that chronicles a list of pertinent emotional happenings.
Straight out of the gate you are reminded that this group is, indeed, a Pop band. The first track, “Book Of Love” is Pop Rock in its purest form reminiscent of Katy Perry circa 2010. Do not misunderstand my correlation, I do not mean to say it “sounds Like Katy Perry” but rather a clear representation of that era. With a very pure Pop start to the effort one could think that Underworld would continue this trend. But let us not be hasty.
One of the more interesting aspects of this album is the wide varied influences that I am able to hear while I listen. “Crack My Heart”, one of the singles released from the album, is a slightly heavier offering more in the line of Pop Rock in my opinion. This track has familiar elements of bands such as The Cranberries and Paramore. One thing that both tracks share, is the deep emotional lyrics, something that is a definite theme to this album.
The second single released from Underworld, “Temple”, is definitely Power Pop. Rock drums and power guitar riffs kick this tune off with a very high octane feel. I first thought this offering was going to ride the rock train to the end, however when the chorus came around the pop element was obvious and was a very nice marriage with the power-style guitar.
In my opinion the most well written offering on the album is “The Other”. This track combines a verse that flows effortlessly and transitions into a chorus that burrows itself in your brain and will not leave. This song also combines all the elements that I feel are the strengths of the band. Lyrically, again, deep and powerfully written combined with a very nice mixture of musical accompaniment that encompasses fully what is Pop Rock.
While “The Other” gets my vote for best crafted song on the album, it is not my favorite offering. You see, I like to hear emotional lyrics sang a little raw. Jenna McDougall’s voice is polished and very near perfect on the entire album, but on the second to last track “Looking For Heaven” I heard it. “Looking For Heaven” showcases McDougall as it is just her with a piano accompaniment and it was in this song that I heard the slightest bit of her raw power. This tiny glimpse what she has to offer makes me hope to hear more of that style on future albums.
Underworld is a well-crafted album that flows from front to back almost like a story would read, and as I have mentioned, very deeply written. The album also delivers tracks that feature Corey Taylor (Stone Sour/Slipknot) and Lynn Gunn of PVRIS. All in all, the album is a very solid collection of music, I listened to it completely at least twice and found no track less than acceptable.
Tonight Alive brings their tour to Saint Louis on January 23 with Silverstein and The Ready Room will play host. If you like Pop Rock, Power Pop or even pure Pop you need to check out these Ausies, if the tour reflects the album it will be worth your time. Underworld is available for purchase now, see you all at The Ready Room.