Supplying a follow-up to their 2015 debut album, Texas rockers ACROSS THE ATLANTIC have returned with their latest batch of hardcore-infused pop-punk anthems. Representing a step in the right direction for the five-piece, Works Of Progress is a bigger and better album than its predecessor, one that demonstrates an evident jump in maturity and writing ability.
Where the band has done little to reinvent the rulebook across this collection of 11 tracks, they have doubled-down on efforts to focus an already established sound. Resulting in an undeniably solid effort from a band that’s still well within its infancy, this is without a doubt an enjoyable record for those who enjoy a side-order of attitude alongside their catchy pop-punk hooks – just don’t go expecting a musical revolution.
Though, admittedly, the album begins with a false-start in the form of an awkward prelude track, the following number (and true album opener) Playing For Keeps immediately hits the ground running and, thankfully, corrects this initial stumble. Setting the tone of what’s to come with its punchy instrumentation, break-neck speed and infectious vocal melodies, ACROSS THE ATLANTIC do well to exhibit the range of their talents within the space of these few introductory minutes. Filling the airwaves with huge production, a factor that remains consistent across the whole record, it’s a strong opener that grabs a hold and refuses to let go. The rest of the album’s offerings are not much different, either, with every track confidently delivering on classic-yet-satisfying pop-punk material, energetic beats, and huge sing-along choruses throughout the 37 minutes of total running time.
Adding enough of a mix to keep things interesting, songs such as the band’s latest single, Sundress Funeral, relaxes their punk muscles in favour of a more pop-orientated stance, while tracks such as Word Of Mouth places the band’s hardcore influences at the forefront instead. Throwing in harsh vocals, low-tuned guitar riffs, and meaty breakdowns, these tracks provide a welcome contrast against the more conventional, melody-heavy sounds found elsewhere. Though it could be argued that these substantially heavier moments fail to contribute towards an entirely cohesive whole, especially when Blind Eyes, the album’s heaviest track by far, comes hot off the back of the album’s most anthemic pop ballad, it’s hard to fault their genuine effectiveness at cleansing the pallet from an otherwise great, but recognisable barrage of pop-friendly material.
Consumed by powerful guitars, drums and a densely-packed, highly-produced textured landscape, it’s these heavier moments that, above all else, prove most well-fitting for the band and highlight a particular strength. Melding the softer, more-accessible pop elements with the harsher elements of hardcore with ease throughout the entirety of Works Of Progress, moments where the band hits the perfect balance of these influences, such as in the track 24 Hours, the band create highlights that are extremely memorable. Hitting these sweet spots several times throughout, it’s impossible to come away unimpressed, resulting in several star tracks from an album that – ignoring the prelude – is without a weak link.
Concluding with the album’s title track, the pacing of the album is brought down to a considerable halt as a sombre, acoustic-led number sends the album off in style. Building up slowly over time and paying off with a worthwhile climax of overlapping vocals and harmonies, ACROSS THE ATLANTIC demonstrate yet another side to their talents while finishing this sophomore effort on a high. Fluttering within the genre’s realms, the album’s careful construction allows for a varied listen from start to finish, and is only marred by a lack of innovation within their rather ordinary sound. Echoing similar flavours of bands that have been conquering the genre for many years now – A DAY TO REMEMBER being a notable similarity, a comparison that’s also a huge compliment – the album as a whole isn’t the stand-out release it would have been several years prior, but it’s still very much an excellent one that avoids sounding dated.
Though it’s easy to criticise a missing sense of originality across the whole album, it’s also difficult to ignore the sheer quality of the band’s tried-and-tested formula. With lyrics that cover some of the typical hallmarks of the genre: love, loss, emotions and heartbreak with respectable ability, as well as poppy riffs, catchy vocals, hardcore influences, and pop hooks by the bucket-load, there’s plenty to appreciate during your time with the album. ACROSS THE ATLANTIC might have achieved a familiar-sounding album to those acquainted with the world of pop-punk, but it’s one that’s without a doubt irresistible to enjoy, regardless of the fact.
Works of Progress is set for release on September 1st via SharpTone Records.
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