For Fans Of
If it seems like it’s been a long time since you’ve heard anything about Better Off, that’s because it has been. Better Off released their last opus, ‘Milk,’ back in 2015. Since then, Better Off has had a bumpy and unclear road. All of the original members quit and left singer/guitarist Luke Granered as the only remaining member; announcing they were calling it quits following a horribly handled sexual assault allegation against a former touring member. After cutting all ties with said member and personally apologising to the victim, eventually properly handling matters and sincerely apologising since, Luke has been making a quiet Better Off comeback with some of their original members in the past few months, releasing several singles and playing a couple one-off shows in America. However, their comeback has gone from a whisper to now that of a roar when they recently surprise dropped their new LP, ‘Reap What You Sow‘.
I really don’t think I’m being presumptuous when I say that ‘Reap What You Sow‘ is exactly the album that many Better Off fans will have been patiently waiting for over the past four years. It is in every way a solid follow up to ‘Milk‘; a record which just so happens to be one of my all-time favourite albums, for whatever it’s worth. I also don’t think it’s a stretch to say that this new effort might be just as good as ‘Milk‘ in time. The record opens up with the laid back and catchy ‘Float Home‘, which begins with the most “Better Off-sounding” riff that the band has ever written. It really lays down the tone for the rest of the album, with its bouncy drum beats and head-bobbing rhythms. While it may seem a little short, it leads perfectly into the album’s lead single, the bright hooks, happy synths and lyrical growing-pains of ‘Bad Habit‘.
This new album features pretty much every musical side of Better Off that fans have grown accustomed to over the years. Those rockier, fuzz-filled heavy tracks; the soft and depressing songs; as well as those huge choruses and the massive pop songs. Highlight ‘Gig Love‘ shows off that love for fuzz in full force, kicking off with a banging dissonant laden-riff through an 8-bit filter. While somehow being heavy and poppy at the same time, this particular song pays homage to the hard road Better Off has had for the past few years, as well as Luke’s burning desire to get back on the road with his bandmates. Beautiful tracks like ‘Slingshot‘ and ‘Someone Losing‘ showcase the lovely, lighter side of Better Off very well. Which has perhaps always been Better Off’s strongest side, with ‘Sick, Sad, Sons‘ and ‘Bella Disorder‘ shining bright as some of the highest points in their entire discography. ‘Someone Losing‘ is especially beautiful, and might even be the best song on the album too. The light tremolo riffs only accent Luke’s beautiful and unique singing voice.
However, as fantastic as that song may be, it is very much given a run for its money by the album’s incredible closing track, ‘Parting Gift‘. which serves as a perfect closer in every single aspect. The song is very reminiscent of ‘Science Fiction-era Brand New at parts, with its beautiful stripped-down bridge section, and minus all of the creepy subtext and sexual misconduct allegations. This final track also features possibly my favourite set of lyrics on this album: “you can leave me in your stories, or keep me in your prayers/When the storm comes through, remember that i am always there.” There’s actually some fantastic lyricism found all over this record, with stand-offish lines like “you’ll come back to me when you can’t stand to be alone” (pulled from the title track); painting pictures of sad individuals who only love you for the sheer sake of needing love in return.
There is nothing I could say to ultimately portray just how great this new Better Off album truly is. If you’re a fan of Better Off, it’s everything that you’ve been waiting for and more. And even if you’re listening to them for the first time with this record, it sets a strong precedence for exactly what current emo and pop-punk bands should be working towards right now. While the future of Better Off still remains unclear, one thing is for damn sure: ‘Reap What You Sow’ is a fantastic album. Let’s just hope that it won’t be their last…
- Float Home
- Bad Habit
- Reap What You Sow
- Gig Love
- Head Down
- Someone Losing
- Coming Down
- Parting Gift
‘Reap What You Sow’ is out now.