by Dan Grote
At their best, SR-71 have proven themselves
to be more musically gifted than your average pop punk band. Many of their
songs extend past three-chord guitar patterns and nasal-voiced singing
about ex-girlfriends. However, they’re on a major record label, so songs
like “Right Now” are released to radio, marketing the band as pop punk
in order to draw in fans.
On the band’s new album, Tomorrow, SR-71
do little to break their own pigeonholing, as the easily marketable pop
punk songs are back, though in all fairness, other songs on the album are
darker or have more of a middle-of-the-road feel, think New Found Glory
While the opening track, “They All Fall
Down,” comes off as rather innocuous, the album’s title track, “Tomorrow,”
finds the band sharpening its metal blade, with a darker tone bordering
on screamo, which is on one hand a cheap grasp at diversity but on the
other a decent change of pace.
It’s not long, however, before the Hot
Topic t-shirt punk takes the stage, on songs like “She Was Dead” and “Lucky,”
the latter being an all-too familiar sounding song about being in relationship
Hell and buying porn off the Internet.
Then there are the songs that find the
band wandering off toward the middle of the road, with ballad pop like
“In My Mind” and barely rockers such as “My World” and “Hello Hello.” At
this point, the only thing that saves the band from being completely adult
contemporary-ready is lead singer Mitch Allen’s high-pitched nasal voice,
which of course is what most condemns the band to sounding like every other
pop punk band. At the same time, the penultimate track, “In My Mind,” finds
the band attempting Axl-size balladry, with a very un-punk five minutes-plus,
piano-infused slow track that makes you want to give the band an E for
VERDICT: While there’s no short supply
of blandness on Tomorrow despite its attempt at diversity, there is something
to be said for the resurgence of the guitar solo in rock music that has
made its way onto this album. Mark Beauchemin’s riffing on “Truth” and
“Lucky” certainly provide the album with saving graces, as does “In My
Mind.” SR-71 are more mature than their marketed peers, but not necessarily
as entertaining, unfortunately.
Samples and Purchase SR-71's new CD
the Official SR-71 Website for more on the band, tour dates and other cool
Dan Grote is an iconoFAN Contributor
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