For Fans Of
The Amity Affliction are becoming – if not already – one of the most talked about Australian artists in the music circuit nowadays. The band’s success can be attributed to the fact they combine the gritty, raw and passionate hardcore stylings with the melodic and catchy clean choruses that makes all the Sleeping With Sirens fans scream with enthusiasm. It’s this mixture that has seen them thrust into mainstream success. So they pulled a Nickelback and have basically written the same album again.
While predecessor, ‘Chasing Ghosts’ is arguably a fantastic record in its own right, the repetition and blatant formula has put many listeners off. So when coming into the band’s fourth LP,‘Let the Ocean Take Me’, there may be feelings of uncertainty and concern with the direction of the album.
Beginning with lead single, ‘Pittsburgh‘ the tone for the entire record is set strongly. The Amity Affliction blueprint is present here, but the added addition of a choir in the bridge of the song will serve to be immaculate when played live. The next four songs though, follow in very familiar fashion.
This set of songs are very reminiscent of the whole Amity Affliction sound many have no doubt become familiar with. As ‘Never Alone‘ fades out, the whole ordeal begins to feel almost tacky and cheap in the sense it has no fulfilment. There’s nothing to sink your teeth into nor anything there to surprise you. And right at the moment where you want to stop listening because you don’t want to hear ‘Youngbloods Part 3’, something new happens.
Jammed at the end of ‘Never Alone‘ is a sampled voice message. The voice message depicts Birch’s feelings of depression and anxiety and monotony in his life. The message, written by Birch and spoken by Deez Nuts guitarist, Matthew ‘Realbad‘ Roggers, leaves the message to an unnamed friend, often asking if he’s there at all, spouting, “Hello? Hello?” in a sense of desperation.
As soon as the line “I think it’s time for me to leave. Just call it quits,” is dropped, the whole album changes.
The Amity Affliction have always been a band taking a strong stand against depression and suicide and to instil hope in their listeners. Especially since Birch attempted to take his own life a few years ago. This sample makes the whole full-length no longer feel like a blatant rip off of previous songs. At this point, the album becomes a living, breathing embodiment of a man on a stage really singing about depression and these feelings. It becomes a man singing straight from his heart, which is something tags some may have never felt on the previous albums.
The second half of the record is Amity as you know it, but the songs have an added weight since the impact of the voice message sample. Every breakdown, every chug, every riff, the cleans and the melodies now have a different, far stronger purpose. It becomes proof that sometimes passion and honesty can turn a decent album into a great one.
Although the repetition isn’t the most encouraging aspect of the album, the lyrics are also at the bad end of the stick on occasion. We’re talking about the series of ocean references in the lyrics. ‘Youngbloods‘ had them in abundance (‘H.M.A.S Lookback‘, ‘Anchors‘, ‘RIP Foghorn‘), and ‘Chasing Ghosts‘ didn’t forget them one bit (‘R.I.P Bon‘, ‘Bondi St Blues‘). Now ‘Let the Ocean Take Me‘ pretty much says, “Fuck it’s let’s name the album after the ocean!”
‘Pittsburgh‘, ‘Don’t Lean on Me‘ and ‘The Weigh Down‘ all have very distinct connotation to the sea and ocean, and it’s clear it represents something strong to the band, but this theme is starting to get old fast and it doesn’t help the album’s impact unfortunately.
The Amity Affliction continue their winning streak with album number four. While the first half is repetitive and slightly uninspired, it’s the second half where this album really shines.The structure, theme, and overall formula hasn’t changed, so haters will inevitably hate it, and the fans will lap it all up. ‘Let The Ocean Take Me’ is just another big step for Amity, albeit a somewhat familiar one.
2.Lost & Fading
3.Don’t Lean on Me
4.The Weigh Down
8.My Father’s Son
10.Give It All