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It isn’t out of line to say that quality pop rock releases are almost non-existent this year. With the bands that, not so long ago, were at the top of this genre recently releasing cringe-worthy albums, the death of pop rock seems imminent.
However, Everything’s Fine, the newest release by The Summer Set is here to put an end to such thoughts. While this album isn’t really showing anything new from the band, or bringing anything new to the genre, it is definitely proving that pop rock is far from dead, and may still have a few good years left in it.
Pop rock isn’t a genre best known for it’s deep, heartfelt lyrics, and if that is what you are looking for, well why are you listening to pop rock anyway? The Summer Set’s Everything’s Fine is an album full of songs about standard teenage problems. So basically you will hear songs about wanting girls, getting girls and breaking up with girls. Don’t let this fool you for a second though, this is an album full of all the great things about the genre, while also growing up and slowing things down. This is an album full of catchy lyrics that will get stuck in your head and fun beats that will get you dancing, mixed between mature ballads that suit vocalist Brian Dales’ unique vocals perfectly.
The album opens with "About A Girl" and while the title doesn’t keep any secrets, the tempo of the song is surprising. For a band that heavily relied on power chords in their earlier album (Love Like, 2009) opening their follow up with a ballad full of soft guitars and smooth, cruisy vocals is definitely different, but it proves just how much growing up this band has done in two years. Next track, "When We Were Young" is more like The Summer Set fans are used to. While it opens soft and slow, the rest of the band is slowly layered on to create a fun, bouncy atmosphere perfect for a pogo-loving live audience. The rest of the album follows the same pattern as the band weave between slow, soulful ballads and fun, upbeat pop songs. “Mannequin” is one of the highlights of the album. It sits somewhere between the ballads and the upbeat pop songs, but Dales’ vocals suit this style of music perfectly, and they definitely hit the nail on the head with this track. “Begin Again” showcases the well-known aspects of The Summer Set to a tee. It is a fun, boppy song with a great beat made for dancing at beach parties. “Don’t Let Me Go” is the perfect way to end the album. It slows the tempo down again, opening with soft piano, intertwined with simple instruments carrying Dales’ voice throughout the track.
Dales’ vocals have clearly improved and matured a lot, and they fit perfectly in both musical styles this album presents, but they would be nothing without the support of the four instrumentalists. Back up vocals, piano and guitar from John Gomez, guitar from Josh Montgomery, bass from Stephen Gomez and drums from Jess Bowen (because how many female drummers are out there?!) are all integral to the completeness of this band. While they are not oozing technical ability far beyond their years, they do create the perfect atmosphere this album needs.
Everything’s Fine is an album that shows tremendous growth from all members of The Summer Set. Whilst it isn’t redefining the pop rock genre, and it probably won’t convert any haters, hell it probably won’t be remembered in a few years, it does show growth and versatility in a genre that has become dull, manufactured and lack luster. It is a great album that promises a lot more from this young band in the future. So rest assured, everything IS in fact fine, because there are still some great pop rock bands left.
1. About a Girl
2. When We Were Young
3. Someone Like You
4. Back to the Start
5. Must Be the Music
6. Thick as Thieves
8. Mona Lisa
9. Begin Again
10. Love to You
11. Don’t Let Me Go