It seems like a lifetime since we were graced with an A Day To Remember record, thankfully the band announced their comeback earlier this year by dropping single Paranoia and announcing that their sixth studio album Bad Vibrations was due for release on the 19th August. Following the announcement the record was pushed back until the 2nd September, after production problems with the record’s cases.
Finally here, the album opens with title track Bad Vibrations and it screams classic ADTR. It’s fierce and it’s fast, as Jeremy McKinnnon‘s screaming bleeds into melodic choruses. Unfortunately the production lets down the opener, as everything sounds a little weak, in particular the percussion.
Paranoia follows Bad Vibrations and the opening riff suggests that the production issues found on the opener was just a blip on the radar. Paranoia keeps up the pace and as it’s sees the band dip into a more outright punk sound. The punk theme doesn’t stop there as Naivety – co-written by Bill Stevenson of Descendents – kicks in. Much like the rest of the record Naivety is a solid track that sits firmly in the middle of the road: there isn’t much to shout about, but then again it isn’t offensively bad.
The standout track comes in the form of Justified, as the opening hook: “Burn me alive if you feel that’s justified” pulled us in from the very start, as the blend of melodic vocals and ferocious screams pull us back to Old Record era ADTR.
Whilst there’s moments where you’ll be dragged back to ADTR at their peak, there are also plenty of instances where it’s clear that the band are trying to develop their sound and become something more. It’s in these moments where our main issue with Bad Vibrations rears its head.
Bad Vibrations is an album that doesn’t really know what it wants to be: there are glimpses of old mixed with tracks such as Paranoia that look to ditch the pop side of things and focus on being at little more punk. That grasp for evolution doesn’t stop there, as tracks such as Bullfight remind us of Sinners Never Sleep era You Me At Six, and Reassemble evokes elements of Bring The Horizon‘s Sempiternal. Whilst none of these directions are necessarily bad, the problem is that the lack of focus results in the band becoming somewhat of a jack-of-all-trades-and-master-of-none; it feels like a turning point for ADTR.
Standout Tracks: Justified, Paranoia
For Fans Of: Pierce The Veil, letlive., Sleeping With Sirens
Written by: Daniel Rourke