Connecticut’s A Will Away describes their sound as “80’s pop rock on Acid.” As far as their hooks go: that’s a pretty apt description. Their instrumentation owes more to the emo revival and 90’s grunge than the shiny, synthesized pop of Genesis and A-Ha, but their ability to craft vocal melodies that leave lyrics permanently stuck in your head is indeed a product of the 80’s.
Their debut LP Here Again comes roughly a year and a half after their Triple Crown Records EP, Bliss (Finding Comfort in the Pointlessness of Life), an EP that occupied a perfect middleground between pre-hiatus Fall Out Boy lyricism and current day revivalist grunge/emo. That sound is largely present on this new LP, with opening track and lead single “Here Again.” The songs kicks off with an arpeggio guitar melody and driving drums, and the kind of storytelling lyrics that have become a staple of this vein of Alternative rock. The chorus is explosive, the band crashing in with a wall of sound while vocalist Matt Carlson sing-screams “If you fear you’re wasting time / then your cup should run over / with more of mine. / Hold it ‘till the bitter end / we’ll never be here again.”
The mid-tempo “Pay Raise” is an interesting choice in sequencing, as it brings the frenetic pace of it’s predecessor to a screeching halt, but it’s follow-up, second single “Agoraphobia” is reminiscent of Transit’s best moments, with sparkly guitar leads and a catchy chorus.
“Chemicals” is one of two songs on the record that comes in at less than two minutes, the other being “Summon Your Savior.” Both songs have sparse instrumentation, which really allows Carlson’s vocals to shine, though the brevity leaves them feeling unfinished. However, they do bookend the best run of tracks on the record. This middle section, starting with “Chemicals” and ending with “…Savior” is, barring the title track, the strongest set of songs the album has to offer, starting with “Crotchet’s” beautiful harmonies, and leading to “Well-Adjusted’s” headbang-worthy guitars. “Caroline’s” sing-along howl of “Do you think that we lost control” is begging to be heard in a live setting, and “Better Reluctant” follows suit.
Overall Here Again is a solid debut full length. A Will Away could probably do with some more uptempo songs, but live, many of these songs will pick up the pace, and that’s something worth watching. With Spring around the corner, it will be time to find a soundtrack to cool nights and longer, warmer days, and it seems Here Again has what it takes to fill that void.