It's more emo on the brain with Name Taken, whose full-length Fiddler debut roils with the urgent, slickly produced fury that defines so much of this genre. "Don't stop this is your life/There's no heart and no soul," pleads vocalist/bassist Chad Atkinson on opener "Control." "Stop selling to yourself that you want control." Can't you just picture the band's front line pogoing in time to the track's half-time roil? "Control" is a pretty strong slice of rousing emo-osity; unfortunately, it's probably Hold On's best track. For the album's duration, it's Name Taken's adherence to formula and the glossy production of Beau Burchell -- not memorable hooks or unique dynamics -- that keep things together. "This Was Never" and "A Year Spent Cold" employ similar metaphors in a quest to channel Atkinson's romantic pain; the latter does tick along at an upbeat Jimmy Eat World pace, but the former track's dull guitar roar and meandering vocal steer it off course (the same goes for the wavering lilt/meaningful instrumental crash of "Panic"). "It Sounds Prettier in Spanish" gets points as the best song title on the album, but its lyrics seem like random phrases lifted from the Big Book of Emo Empathy ("I can't kill the memory," "This was never supposed to happen," "No one's supposed to know about us"). Likewise, "I Quit My Scene" works the tired template of dramatically slow verse rushing into harmony-laden chorus. In the end, Hold On just doesn't make much of an impression. The majority of the album rises and falls in a cycle so similar to Name Taken's peers (Early November, Stars Hide Fire, to name only two) that the Cali-based group's bland name almost seems like a gag. Maybe they should change it to Sound and Fury Taken.
Hold On Review
by Johnny Loftus