Sing It Loud

Everything Collide

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In the two years since their debut record, Come Around, was released, Sing It Loud have done some growing up. You can see it in their promo photos, where in place of Day-Glo colors and wacky hairstyles the group is shown in earth tones and leather with sensible haircuts. The album cover shows the shift too, from Come Around's new wave-inspired design and color scheme to a somber sunset photo of a deserted beach and boardwalk on Everything Collide. Most importantly, the sound of the band has changed from a barely contained, bursting-with-energy blast of fun to a more restrained and warm, often melancholy, almost adult feel. The keyboards have shifted from cheesy synths to organ and pianos, the guitars are less prominent and more layered, the vocals are less adolescent, and there are almost as many ballads as there are good-time rockers. It’s a major shift that causes some problems -- chief among them is the fact that growing up doesn’t always mean getting better. The band was very good at writing cheerful pop songs that hid the sadness of the words in peppy singalong choruses, so much so that they fell firmly on the pop side of the emo-pop equation. This time out, the increased production values, the somber tone, and the bigness of the sound combined with the still heartbroken and questioning lyrics give the album a weightiness it can’t carry. Apart from a couple songs like “Sugar Sweet” and “I Can’t,” most of the charm and sweetness that made the band special have disappeared. The lack of energy in the rockers, the clichéd approach of the ballads, the restraint in the group’s playing, and the facelessness of the vocals mean that all we’re left with on Everything Collide is a band that sounds like bland, journeyman emo-pop with nothing to recommend it beyond an overall pleasantness. That’s really not enough, and the album is a total letdown for anyone who thought Sing It Loud's debut album was the work of a band that might be something special instead of just another sad face in the crowd.

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