What a strange two year (or so) journey it has been for one of the most promising bands in the scene, Springfield, Illinois’, The Graduate. After releasing their debut album Anhedonia to much fanfare and critical acclaim, their label, Icon Mes, folded, and the band found themselves without a home. After a short tour in late 2008, the band decided not to dwell on the label issue and began to work on new material. After a year and half of being label-less, Razor & Tie signed the quintet, bringing relief to fans that have waited so long for new material. And it is well worth the wait, as their second full-length, Only Every Time, is the sound of a band realizing their full potential.
While plenty of music fans fell in love with the sound and structure of Anhedonia, Only Every Time features a richer, more diverse sound; it’s an atmospheric auditory treat, featuring musicianship that envelops your senses. Opener “Don’t Die Digging” is a great example with technical guitar riffs needling in and out, as the gang-vocal infused chorus will have you shouting and stomping along instantly. The intensity of “Siren” reminds you that The Graduate can rock out at any given moment, while showing off Corey Warning’s excellent vocal work.
But the bread and butter of Only Every Time are the mid-tempo tracks that show off the little details and intricacies in the song writing. The spacey “Stuck (Inside My Head)” is Snow Patrol-esque, only more complex, while the dazzling “Make Believe” is the anthem you’ve been searching for all summer.
Not one second of space or silence is wasted on this record, as The Graduate know how to put together a track that packs an emotional wallop. The beautiful “Pull Me In” is the highlight of Only Every Time, which features nicely layered guitar chords and subtle piano notes that span over the course of the song. Warning exclaims, “I’m falling over edges with you/I’m longing just to see your face again/I’m taking on the world to give you everything you need/while I’m away” over a chorus of “whoa-oh’s” that are reminiscent of Arcade Fire’s “Wake Up.”
Only Every Time never stalls, as tracks like “Halfway There” and “All At Once” fuse ambiance and urgency into the perfect songs for those late night drives. Other tracks, such as “Choke” and “Permanent Tourists,” showcase Warning’s range and passion as a vocalist.
Bands always say they were influenced by this and that genre when promoting a new album, but most of the time they fall short of such proclamations. But in the case of The Graduate, Only Every Time lives up to that billing. Throughout the eleven tracks, you hear tempos and vibes inspired by indie-rock, pop, and electronica. It’s a cornucopia of varying genres, thus giving the album an impactful and unique sound many acts will fail to emulate. The Graduate is aiming to break through the genre barriers, making an album all music fans will enjoy, regardless of genre affiliation. My mother always taught me that patience is a virtue, and boy did it pay off this time, as Only Every Time is a surefire album of the year contender.