When two bands sound similar, it's a common thing; when their careers go the same way, that's just eerie. Ellegarden spent a decade on challenging blink-182 at their own game; then Tom DeLonge left to form Angels & Airwaves, which played a more earnest version of the same style -- and now, a couple of years later, Ellegarden's Takeshi Hosomi does the same with Hiatus. But then again, such parallels are superficial: DeLonge did a sideways shift from Green Day to U2, and Hiatus is more of a natural progression for Hosomi. There are enough similarities to confuse Hiatus with Ellegarden on the first listen: the music still relies on melodic punkish guitars, fast tempos, and Hosomi's distinct nasal voice -- but Hiatus add some new elements, too. A few metal riffs here and there and plenty of piano thrown right into the middle of a catchy rock mix (and even a fairly negligible piano-only ballad, "Little Odyssey") don't qualify for a paradigm change, but enable subtle songwriting changes: the tunes are more epic and serious than ever before. No more songs about pizza or being late for a concert; Hiatus trade the juvenile carelessness and romanticism for an emo-ish alt-rock sound in the vein of Jimmy Eat World and, among J-rockers, Straightener -- which is a very good band to set sights on. Hiatus still sound adolescent, but never angsty and whiny, and, most importantly, the songs are really catchy, and not in a naïve punkish way. They're not dethroning Straightener in the near future, and if Trash We'd Love had come out under Ellegarden's banner, no one would have fainted in surprise, but if a change of moniker was needed to produce an album this enjoyable, there's nothing to complain about.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Alexey Eremenko