ALBUM REVIEW: With Confidence – Love And Loathing

It’s been two years since Australian pop-punk outfit With Confidence released their debut album Better Weather. In that time they’ve gone away, had a line-up reshuffle and come back stronger than ever with new album Love And Loathing, released via Hopeless Records. The trio teamed up with Mike Green who is known for working with All Time Low and Paramore for album production, resulting in 12 great pop-punk tracks.

Opening the release is That Something, the first single from the album. Throwing us right in at the deep end with upbeat, feel-good pop beats it’s a new sound from With Confidence. Singing “I think I’ve finally found that something” the track is emotive, exploring that feeling when you find something really special that you love. The guitar work on this track immediately highlights Inigo Del Carmen’s willingness to think out of the box, as we find ourselves remembering this track long after it has ended. Sing To Me is a more melodic effort from the trio but oozes in pop-punk goodness and a huge, live show friendly chorus. The layering of guitar, drums and vocals make this effortlessly heavy at times, singing of the future with someone special, but at the same time not knowing what it holds. Through the first two tracks it’s become apparent that With Confidence have taken the time to suss out the sound they want to create in order to make it as sharp as possible. It’s worked.

As we head through the release it’s clearer this is a pop-punk album in all its glory with riffy guitars, driving drum lines and lyrics singing of love, lost in a strangely upbeat manner. During Moving Boxes Jayden Seeley and Del Carmen work as a vocal powerhouse, bouncing off each other to create a storytelling contrast and something rather special. The Turnaround completely turns around the style of the release: melody-driven, sugar sweet but without a doubt the most positive filled track we’ve come across so far. Lyrics such as “I wanna be brave and I wanna feel changed” and “I have a reason to believe everything’s going to be fine/Breathe it in and breathe it out, know the air will clear you out” instantly make this a reflective, sincere track about finding the best and a reminder that it’s going to get better, even if it doesn’t feel that way at the time. Think of this as a reinvention of Better Weather’s We’ll Be Okay – make today the turnaround and do that by checking out Love And Loathing for a start!

Jaded is another single from the release, a heavier styled track which takes no time to introduce pounding drumlines which infiltrate your brain. The raucous, fast pace of Jaded does make it difficult to enjoy the track fully, as one moment you’re getting your head around a powerful verse before the rowdy chorus comes back into play. This, however, is a track we’re expecting to excel live – we can see the circle pits emerging now. We hope that Better will be better suited to our tastes (sorry we couldn’t resist)! An electro-styled introduction paves the way for the foolproof recipe With Confidence have created so far. Swirling guitar lines take you on a musical rollercoaster, whilst simplistic yet powerful drumlines are complimented with emotive lyrics. It’s clear throughout that thought, attention and emotion have created lyrics such as “all that I ever wanted, I want to feel worth it, don’t want to be worthless,” which feel like they come from the heart and a darker place of wanting to be better.

Every good album needs a ballad and Spinning is here to take the crown. We love bands who understand that busy tracks aren’t always needed to gain attention: here we’re drawn to the beautiful, passionate vocals of falling in love, where that special person leaves you spinning. This track never really picks up in tempo, it doesn’t provide the most technical musical accompaniment but really steals the show – and our hearts. Bruise maintains the simple yet powerful format. Everything is stripped back here, including the strained vocals which you can’t help but feel come directly from a broken man. One of the repeated lyrics on this track is “we’re pressing on a bruise just to feel something” and there’s something hauntingly heartbreaking about this line. Seeking pain to remind yourself that you can feel, the storytelling backdrop of this track makes it a standout moment on this release, and one we’re going to be playing for a long time to come.

Pâquerette (Without Me) is one of the least With Confidence style tracks we’ve come across in a very long time. Continuing the emotional and guitar-driven theme there’s a hint of country entwined here which turns the track into a boppy, feet tapping number with an extremely catchy chorus. Translated from French to mean daisy there’s a guessing game here about the meaning behind this; was Daisy the girl in question within this track? Or are we thinking more of the flower here? We reckon it’s the former, but who knows! From the onset with heavy guitar lines, sassy vocals and bold drums Icarus is an all-rounder of a track, reintroducing the good old pop-punk vocals. Layered vocals are raw and aggressive, but Joshua Brozzesi steals the show with groundbreaking drumlines, moving the track in the right direction.

As we head towards penultimate track Dopamine we’re greeted with a swirling, fun pop-punk sound; however at this point we’ve had a taste of the best, making this a weaker effort. Let’s be honest if there wasn’t at least one slightly generic pop-punk track would it really be a pop-punk album? 10/10 for lyrical effort: “I hear your voice inside my brain, I think you’re here to stop my pain,” and for the fact that after a second listen it becomes apparent this is a ‘grower’ of a track. Closing number Tails is the last shot at motivational lyrics, which make you genuinely feel happier after listening to it. The chorus here goes in full pelt with guitars, vocals and drums coming together to compliment each other flawlessly. “I’ll run circles while we chase our tails, I won’t fail you” is just an example of the supportive and reflective lyrics exhibited. We’ve got a feeling this is going to become a fan favourite upon the album’s release.  Just as we think we’ve come to the end of the release we are welcomed with a stripped back outro of “think love & loathing is all I’ve got, sometimes I think it’s all I want.” A strange but extremely memorable ending to a solid and varied album.

Love And Loathing is the perfect combination of solid fire pop-punk with some well-needed ballads thrown in for good measure. With Confidence are heading out on a run of UK shows in September, you can find more information HERE.


Standout Tracks: Bruise, Spinning, The Turnaround

For Fans Of: State Champs, As It Is, Waterparks

Written By: Nicola Craig

Nicola Craig
Head of Live with an unwavering love for the seaside, live music and writing about others instead of myself. Twitter: @nicolalalalar