The Working Title

About-Face

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The Working Title essentially craft guitar-driven modern rock akin to a secular Switchfoot or a much less grandiose U2. But there is something much more understated and comforting in the band's approach that brings an extremely light and welcoming aura to About-Face, their debut for the Universal imprint Cause for Alarm. Immediately engaging listeners at the hypnotic title track (really just the intro), the guys don't try to hit listeners over the head with bursting guitars and explosive rock dramatics. Instead, they're content to let their passionate musings strike unassumingly on late-night drives or simply while lying exposed on one's bed with the album on repeat in the background. Lead singer Joel Hamilton steers with an earthy and sensual voice that brings a vulnerable passion to the table, as various instrumental textures combine cohesively along the way. Guitars may ultimately abound, but they never boast a hard edge; they're just the backbone on which everything is based. About-Face is soft, clean, and gentle in a way that complements the band's strengths -- sweetly layered vocals, seamless arrangements, and emotive lyrics. Love, loss, and everything in between is touched on without crossing (or even really approaching) the bridge into whiny emo. Hamilton's expressive voice (at times evocative of John Mayer) can simply make a heart break ("Something She Said") just as easily as it can convey his own about to burst from aching ("Weigh Me Down"). "This Is Not Glorious" combines piano and drum programming with wonderful results, whereas "The Crash" lets shimmering guitars take over for a restless song of anxious love. About-Face is a charming ride through the world of the Working Title, and it suggests a bright future for the band. They do nothing more than absolutely captivate the whole way through, proving that getting in one's face isn't always necessary for catching one's attention.

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