Every Avenue – Bad Habits


Artist

Album

Bad Habits

Label

Fearless Records

Year

2011

Genre

For Fans Of

The Audition - Mayday Parade - The Maine

Summary

Every Avenue find their sound and move away from the pop-punk pack.

Rating

80 / 100

There comes a time when a band releases an album and it just feels completely right, as if they have finally found a sound that really suits them and they aren’t afraid to play with it. For some bands it may take a few years, some bands may get it with their first release, and other bands may spend their whole careers searching for it. It may have taken Every Avenue seven years, but finally with their fourth full length this Michigan quintet has hit the mark.

With the band’s three previous albums, even at their most melancholy were still textbook studies in how to create pop-punk. But in a genre that has become tired, over produced and lacking any real quality nowadays, Every Avenue has figured out how to shake it up. While Bad Habits shows a band that are still holding onto their pop-punk roots, via handclaps and catchy choruses (and why shouldn’t they? It has worked so well in the past) it is also an album full of darker lyrics, delivered with anger and grit.

The album also shows an immense improvement in the band’s vocal and instrumental abilities. Instead of focusing solely on bouncy, empty instrument lines and sugary sweet vocals, the band kick things up a few notches. The guitar work from Joshua Withenshaw and Jimmie Deegan, bass lines from Matt Black and drum work from Dennis Wilson ooze a technical ability that hasn’t previously been seen before. Not to mention that amazing vocal improvement from Dave Strauchman. The lead singer’s vocals were always a highlight of the Every Avenue package, but with Bad Habits comes a raw, edgy side to his vocals that make them that much more appealing.

The album opens with “Tie Me Down”. It is one of the poppier sounding tracks on the album, full of bouncy guitar lines and drumbeats. It is a great opening track that immediately draws the audience into the album. From the get go Every Avenue prove they have worked hard at crafting this album, not one single instrument stands out alone, instead the whole band compliment each other seamlessly. Second track “Whatever Happened To You” is a little grittier and edgier than the albums opener. This song is the first sign of a band that have really found their sound and know how to make it sound complete. The track isn’t lacking in generic guitar solo sections, however the track will please fans while showing Every Avenue have evolved. The album then weaves between upbeat, gritty pop-punk songs and slower, more refined ballad like tracks. “There Tonight” fits in with the latter. Strauchman’s deep vocals sound almost haunting against the soft, simple guitar and piano lines. The instruments slowly pick up for the chorus and then fade out for the verses as the song weaves between soft and boppy sections. “Fall Apart” opens with an ambient sounding opening made up of guitars before moving into one of the better singalong tracks on the album. This is a band with no gimmick, no auto-tune, no synthesized sounds- just a real group of musicians making real, great music.

Only Place I Call Home” is another slow track. It sounds a lot more “southern” or “country” than the preceding tracks. Even in the chorus when the vocals are sped up, the instruments still remain soft and steady, proving that Every Avenue are more than just a generic pop-punk band. “Hit Me Where It Hurts Most” is the token live Every Avenue song. With handclap sections and a simple beat matched with deep, raspy vocals this song will be amplified live and get every Every Avenue fan dancing. “I Can’t Not Love You” could have very well been the albums closer. A soft, simple ballad made up of Strauchman’s deep vocals and smooth piano and string lines. It shows the band’s versatility, and while some people may just pass over it, it is infact a beautifully constructed ballad that will have girls everywhere swooning.

The ten tracks display a remarkable improvement from the Michigan quintet when compared to their previous three full lengths. While some fans may be disgruntled by the change, the grittier sound shown on Bad Habits suits Every Avenue better than anything they have tried before. As they flex some aggressive guitar work and refined, angrier song writing they still manage to maintain the catchy pop hooks that have served them well over the years.

Conclusion

Bad Habits paints a picture of a band on the brink of maturity. For all the albums bitterness there is also a heart present that many listeners have never heard before. The raw emotion that is present for most of the album makes it clear that Every Avenue are a band no longer afraid to embrace the darker side of human emotions, even if it means forfeiting the mediocre pop rock act they held so strongly to. Bad Habits is only the beginning.

Tracklisting

1. Tie Me Down
2. Whatever Happened To You
3. There Tonight
4. Fall Apart
5. Just Getting Started
6. Only Place I Call Home
7. Someday, Somehow
8. Hit Me Where It Hurts The Most
9. I Can’t Not Not Love You
10. Watch The World

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