On the latest record from San Diego, California rockers Western Settings they begin to embrace the uncertainty of living with the unpredictability of each passing day on Another Year. For those unfamiliar with the band, they remind me a lot of established punk rockers Alkaline Trio with a solid mix of pop sensibilities of The Ataris. Comparisons aside, Another Year rocks with a newfound immediacy not usually found with bands less than ten years under their belts.
Led by singer and bassist Ricky Schmidt, his trademark growl on tracks such as the lead single and title track comes off as powerful as any other singer in the crowded California punk rock scene. As their sophomore record unfolds, one can’t help but notice their momentum and confidence brood on songs such as the current single, “Big.” It’s on songs like this where Western Settings feel as comfortable in their skin as they ever have before. On their earlier EPs, the band may have sounded hesitant to really go for it and unleash their full potential, yet on Another Year, their solid work ethic pays significant dividends on an album worthy of immediate praise.
“Break” finds the band painting with different layers of depth than the blazing opening two tracks, and instead gradually finds a way to tell a story through their lyrics and memorable pop hooks. Writing a solid chorus comes with practice, and yet Western Settings have showcased their ability to hang with the big names in the scene with eleven solidly well-crafted tracks.
Other standout songs that should definitely be added to your next playlist are the breakneck beats on “Back to 52” courtesy of drummer Adam Kissell, the excellent guitar work of Will Castro and Dylan Wolters on “Duckets is Tight,” and the steady hand of Schmidt on “That’s Pretty Good” showcases his impressive range as a vocalist.
Overall, these eleven songs found on “Another Year” range from good to pretty damn impressive for a band just releasing their second full-length record. It’s no surprise that Western Settings caught the attention of A-F Records since the band’s remarkable work ethic on the road and in the studio comes blasting through the speakers on Another Year as confidently as a band who’s been doing this for ages. As I mentioned during the premiere of the single/title track, this band is undoubtedly one to watch as this year unfolds and I expect big things as this band gets back on the road in support of this terrific record.