Artist: This Legend
Album: It’s In The Streets
Release Date: 11th November 2014
Label: Cyber Tracks
Pedigree is a funny thing, especially in the music industry. Expectations can be set too high, and disappointment can follow. Few people could deny the pop-punk pedigree of This Legend, featuring both Longineu “LP” Parsons and Ben Harper, two founding members of pop-punk giants, Yellowcard. The big names don’t stop there, with further personal backing from NOFX’s El Hefe and his record label, Cyber Tracks. It must be nerve-racking, knowing that comparisons will ultimately be made to the past, but refusing to be discouraged and staying positive are hallmarks of the genre, and This Legend do it with aplomb.
Opening with Lyrics With My Pen, it appears that This Legend have taken their cue from the more current, fast-paced sound à la State Champs and co. Starting with some really thumping drums before jumping straight into a speedy rampage of a verse, then dropping into a pretty kicking chorus. The blend is seamless and is all topped off by a bridge which takes the speed down a notch and jolts the bass up higher. It’s tight and provides a great jumping-in point for the album.
The next track, Feeling Like I Should, keeps up with the slower pace, delivering a more measured sound with some nice sweeping guitar work, complete with a nice little guitar solo around the mid-point marker. It’s a big change compared to the opener, but the gruffer vocals lend a nice touch. Leading into Holiday From Crazy, the sound is a little more old-school, reminiscent of the kind of 90′s pop-punk sound, with some nice little frantic gaps between parts, but it’s towards two thirds of the way through that things pick up, going through some really jarring but attention grabbing off-beat sounds into something resembling a pop-punk breakdown.
So far It’s In The Streets sounds like a great album, but if one specific complaint can be made, it’s that something seems a little off with the final mix. The one thing that really struck me is that it seems almost like the bass of the album got boosted dramatically. With many genres, this wouldn’t be a huge issue, but unfortunately it leaves certain elements sounding muted. The albums leads then into its title track, and in a way, it’s much of the same as what we’ve heard so far. Some pop-punk that goes beyond competence and into the area of being great, but there’s not been much in regards of variation. This doesn’t stop the track of It’s In The Streets from being a belter, with some easy to sing along chorus parts, and the real shining elements are Parsons’ impressive drumming and vocalist Chris Castillo’s harsh but emotive voice. Leading into My City, Parsons’ ridiculous rhythm kicks in even harder, hitting some truly impressive speedy punk fills. It’s a fast track with a slowed down chorus, ending on some nice group vocals, and makes more of an impact that many of the albums tracks thus far.
The album weaves its way through Skin & Bones, a track similar to Holiday From Crazy before leading into the album’s second video release, Life Pushes Hard, a homage to an older time. It’s a strong central point to the album, with some nice variation in pace throughout and some clear use of various dynamics, focussing the spotlight on different instruments at different times to weave something with more depth than anything so far in the album. I Deserve Better changes it up. A lot. As a track, it has a far darker sound heading forward, with a bitter and yearning sound to each verse, before leading into a chorus that bleeds defiance, balancing against the more grim undertones elsewhere in the track before ending simply with Parsons’ drumming solo. It’s a welcome change to some of the more saccharine sentiments of the album, and it displays an evolution sound that had seemed somewhat lacking until we hit the last few tracks.
The album moves into Moving On, before leading on to Regrets, which drips anger and frustration. It follows the now tried and tested formula of fast verse, slow chorus, and although there’s little complaint to be made musically, many of the tracks seem almost to blend into one another by this stage, with a few notable exceptions. It’s In The Streets finishes on Get Fast and Josh Lights A Fire. Get Fast does demonstrate some interesting guitar works again which shows an element not heard thus far. It certainly seems like musical variation has been saved until the second half of the album, not necessarily a bad thing, creating a more memorable ending overall. But speaking of a memorable ending, Josh Lights A Fire certainly is one. Opening with a sinister monologue, Josh Lights A Fire uses even more weird guitar sounds to create an atmosphere that’s a little more creepy before lightening the mood with the more upbeat chorus. In terms of its ending, both the album and truck end with a jarring cut off, creating far more of a memorable impact than having something trailing endlessly on. It’s clever, and has been perfectly placed.
In closing, It’s In The Streets is a great pop-punk album, something to be expected considering the backing and members that This Legend have. It manages to take elements of contemporary pop-punk artists like Man Overboard or State Champs, and mash these sounds with the more old-school of 90′s and the earlier 2000′s artists. Sure, if you look hard enough, you might find a little Yellowcard in This Legend’s sound, but really, this is just because both are great pop-punk bands. If any complaint can be made regarding It’s In The Streets, besides the possible mixing issues highlighted earlier, it’s that many tracks sound very similar, particularly in the initial half of the album, but hey, when all of what you’re listening to is great pop-punk, if that’s your thing, then you’ll find little to complain about with This Legend.
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