ALBUM REVIEW: Of Allies – Are We Better Off?
Rock Is Dead, rock is dead, rOcK iS dEaD. That’s all you’ll ever heard from which ever rent-a-dad is trying to push their new solo album, or just wants you to remember they still exist. However, savvier customers of the rock ‘n’ roll variety will know that that rock is very, very much alive, and if anything, there’s a surplus of bands out there right now, so it’s hard to keep up with what’s going on.
But with their modern yet classic sound reminding you of an early noughties Deftones, Of Allies are another heartbeat in rock’s strengthening pulse. From the town of Hull, the four piece are coming back for another bite of the cherry with their second album, Are We Better Off?, strongly building on their debut release in 2017, with a cheeky little cover of Phil Collins’ In The Air Tonight in the middle of the two, which is well worth your time.
The album opens with an instrumental, Doublespeak, a primer for what follows. The synth is very reminiscent of Stranger Things, with the track enveloping you, winding you back before firing you into An Echo (Or Nothing). The song is a heavy punch to the guts, firing you from the opener, right into the rough of the album, with vocalist/guitarist Rich Nichols‘ rich vocals rising and towering above the monstrous riffs.
As a sonic body of work, Are We Better Off? is incredibly well put together. Every song, at some point, gets your foot tapping, your head nodding, or in the case of Blossoms, or title track Are We Better Off?, your whole body rocking to the song. Though Of Allies‘ influences are loud and clear in this album, they’ve innovated their sound to set them apart and produce a fantastic sophomore album.
The two most important parts of an album are the opener and the closer, the opener to draw you in and keep you invested, and with the closer being an epic to let the credits roll and say goodbye. With their closer, aptly titled Goodbye, it sums up the album, with a gentle acoustic opening making way for a cinematic thriller of riffs and powerful vocals to close the album.
At no point in this album do you feel bored, or fatigued. There’s a familiar feel to this album, but at the same time, there’s such a crisp, fresh sound in every track. We can, and will, argue the toss over the best rock albums of 2019, but there’s a funny feeling that Of Allies could stake a claim for that, or at the very least, score a podium finish. It’s a nice surprise to find an album from a band you’ve never heard of, and be blown away by it.
Choosing a standout track from this album is quite difficult, because it feels unfair to say one’s better than the other on an album that’s been so well written. However, harsh marking is mandatory, so that accolade goes to Goodbye.
Though no slouch itself, their debut album Night Sky pales in comparison to Are We Better Off?. The band have come on leaps and bounds from their first album, capitalising on what was already a successful formula, and deciding to blow that out of the water. Though incredibly well put together, very enjoyable and easily digestible, you can’t help but feel that they’ve got a bit more in their locker, and that, will be incredibly exciting to see.
Standout Tracks: Goodbye, Blossoms, Are We Better Off?
For Fans Of: Deftones, Biffy Clyro, Breaking Benjamin
Written by: Oliver Butler