Save Your Breath – There Used To Be a Place For Us
Record Label: Animal Style
Release Date: October 8, 2013
October eighth, what a day for the pop-punk lover. State Champs’ awesome debut full-length The Finer Things came out, A Loss For Words’ underwhelming newest record Before It Caves came out, and for those who emphasize the pop in pop-punk, Mayday Parade’s fourth album Monsters in the Closet was released. In the midst of all this you probably forgot about Save Your Breath’s second full-length, There Used To Be a Place For Us, which was released the very same day. And hell yeah, you’d be missing out.
Save Your Breath isn’t the most innovative band around. They just play fun pop-punk – but they do it significantly better than most of their peers. The band’s particularly guitar-driven sound calls to mind older pop-punk bands like Don’t Look Down, Autopilot Off, or The Ataris. In fact, the entire album sounds familiar – not to say it’s just a rehash of older bands, but it sounds like a pop-punk album circa 2001 on Drive-Thru records, and that’s certainly a compliment.
Opener “Lessons” isn’t a good track to bridge the gap between There Used To Be a Place For Us and the band’s debut Vices. While an enjoyable record, Vices was generally unmemorable, and the opposite is true here. “Lessons,” while boasting a larger-than-life chorus, is in truth one of the weaker tracks. It’s by song two, single “Whole,” that you can really tell the strides Save Your Breath have made. The song’s one of the catchiest songs of the year, and would fit easily on a classic pop-punk album like Living Well is the Best Revenge (yes, I consider that album classic). Later, the band slows things down on “Skin & Bones” to much success. The near-ballad doesn’t feel forced or mimicked, and it fits in flawlessly in the generally quicker-paced record.
Following “Skin & Bones” is a three song run that makes up the best string on the record. “Abandon” is a poppy song with a colossal refrain that’ll get stuck in your head for days (“We make promises we know we’ll never keep/the whiter the light, the darker the truth”); “Find a Way” is possibly the best song on the album, feeling like everything pop-punk should be: fast, catchy, loud, and fun, with harmonies that’ll please Midtown fans; “The World is Yours” has my favorite introduction on the album and a hard-hitting bridge. Another notable track is the album’s closing title track. Sonically, the song is completely different from the rest of the album. It’s the slowest and quietest song on the album, with sparse instrumentation and droning vocals, ending the album with a two-minute chant of “You are what you make yourself/there used to be a place for us,” and random ambient noises. It’s definitely a risk for a band of this ilk, and nothing I’d expect from Save Your Breath, but it works, creating a soundscape that closes out the album drearily and hopelessly, but satisfactorily.
The only thing you’ll feel after the album ends, however, is satisfied. Save Your Breath have released one of the best albums in the genre this year and one of the only ones I think can truly be called a throwback to its golden age. It’s a refreshing sound for the band, and I’ll be waiting with bated breath for their next release.
I saw them live the other night supporting The Story So Far, and I've caught them at festivals and supporting on other tours before - every single time I cannot get over how weak his voice is life. Poor.