Tonight Alive – What Are You So Scared Of?



What Are You So Scared Of?


Sony Music Australia




For Fans Of

Rufio - Paramore - Highways


A fun, dynamic and exhilarating leap forward.


85 / 100

It’s remarkable to see how far Tonight Alive has come in such a short amount of time. After three years of relentless touring and two well-received EP releases, the Sydney quintet has honed their craft down to a knife-edge and emerged at the forefront of the Australian pop punk scene. The result of this is their debut album ‘What Are You So Scared Of?‘, a 14-track barrage of razor-sharp hooks, catchy riffs and soaring vocal melodies that raises the bar far above anything the band has done before.

Tonight Alive’s music has always seamlessly married the youthful exhilaration of modern pop punk bands like Rufio with the mellowed poignancy of pop rock, and whilst taking an obvious influence from genre contemporaries like Paramore, the band avoids sounding derivative or clichéd for the most part. It is unquestionable that their strongest asset comes in the form of frontwoman Jenna McDougall. Her ability as a singer is leaps and bounds ahead of what most bands of the genre have to offer, pushing the band’s material far beyond your everyday catchy pop punk. McDougall’s vocals glide confidently across an impressive vocal range before nestling comfortably in a high register, giving the choruses of ‘Safe & Sound‘ and ‘Amelia‘ a beautiful and even angelic sense of melody. At other points, the exuberant personality in her voice gives tracks like ‘Breaking & Entering‘ a punchy, impassioned tone.

The songwriting and production on this album shows considerable progression for the band, due largely to the studio prowess of legendary producer Mark Trombino. This is music for the masses, and the album gleams with commercial sensibilities that make it easily digestible, if a little too sweet for some tastes. There’s greater depth with instrumentation this time around, such as the twinkly piano in ‘Safe & Sound‘ that helps accentuate the band’s pop rock influences. The rapid hi-hat strikes and dreamy synthesisers give songs like ‘Let It Land‘ an almost danceable atmosphere, without delving into the tacky, electronic-enthused pop rock of bands like We Are The In Crowd. But all of this pales in comparison to the album’s definitive highlight, ‘Amelia‘, a captivatingly poignant testament to a lost loved one that marks the most emotionally-affecting point of the band’s career.

The slower tracks help break up the album’s pacing and keep it sounding varied and fresh, but this is still very much a pop punk record, despite being glazed over with softer influences. Tracks like ‘Breaking & Entering‘ and ‘Sure As Hell‘ are breakneck, high-energy pop punk songs tailor-made for frenzied moshing. The instrumentation on ‘Sure As Hell‘ echoes Rufio with its rapid-fire clean guitar riffs set against a loud and overdriven rhythm section and fast, frenetic drumming . ‘Thank You & Goodnight‘ continues this trend and is one of several older tracks that have been reworked with Trombino’s excellent production for the album. The track features a guest appearance from Mark Hoppus of Blink-182, and his deep, resonating voice contrasts wonderfully with McDougall, adding a sense of depth and dynamics to the song’s chorus.


Tonight Alive has amped up their creativity with their debut album and proven why they deservedly wear the crown of the Australian pop punk scene. The album is varied and dynamic, and unleashes a wave of poignancy and emotionality that was merely hinted at with previous releases. Its array of consistently well-written, fast-paced pop punk songs balanced with slower, softer tracks keeps the album fresh and entertaining, propelled by exceptional production and the unquestionable proficiency of the band. On ‘What Are You So Scared Of?’, Tonight Alive sound ready to take over the world.


1. Eject, Eject, Eject!
2. Breaking & Entering
3. Starlight
4. Sure As Hell
5. Let It Land
6. Fake It
7. Listening
8. Reason To Sing
9. Safe & Sound
10. Thank You & Goodnight
11. Amelia
12. In The First Place
13. To Die For
14. What Are You So Scared Of?

6 Responses to “Tonight Alive – What Are You So Scared Of?”

  1. samfisher21

    This is great. I love it and that’s coming from someone that usually hates pop-punk. Listening and Breaking & Enterting my personal favourites

Leave a Reply

You must be registered and logged in to comment on this post.