Issues - Issues
Record Label: Rise
Release Date: February 18, 2014
Rewinding to the last time I talked to the band, it was stated they'd like to work with producer David Bendeth, who eventually went on to work on Of Mice & Men's newest effort, Restoring Force. It was also stated that they'd also like to come back to Kris Crummett, and personally, I crossed my fingers as hard as I could that this happened, and I got my wish – I mean, I don't even want to think about what would've happened if they found themselves with Cameron Mizell over at Chango Studios.
Issues' debut album is not only a more cohesive effort, but it's the immediate answer to naysayers who say claim the band will immediately fade away into irrelevancy.
With more time to record, the band took the opportunity to explore a variety of sounds, from the bubblegum pop style of “Late”, to the the heavy riffs of “Sting Ray Affliction” and “Life of a Nine”, to the eerie and unsettling sound of “The Langdon House” (yes, an American Horror Story reference). We also see the band's DJ, Ty “Scout” Acord taking on more of an involved role compared to their debut EP, providing a significant level of depth that would be sorely missed if removed from the equation – it should also be noted that he's a huge fan of hardcore music, and his influence can be felt during tempo changes in songs such as “Mad At Myself”.
Lyrical content is all over the place – a song such as “The Settlement” show the band can masterfully craft a poignant reminder of the pain of divorce, but songs such as “Late” contain the same level of seriousness as what you'd find on your local Top-40 radio station. “Never Lose Your Flames” is a long standing mantra of Carter's, and a song that best defines the album lyrically, particularly with the lyric “If you've got the blood, then you've got the heart to win...give yourself a chance”. And believe it or not, I think a lot of younger fans might find some bravery in the “Talk shit, you mean nothing” line found in “Stingray Affliction”
“Old Dena” is a fun break mid-way through the album, as Ty “Scout” Acord takes us on a fun two minute instrumental, sampling random bits from sources such that viral “Ooh, Kill Em'” Terio video.
In closing, Issues had a massive hurdle to clear with their debut record, and they not only cleared it, but set it one notch higher. At the end of the day, this record is catchy and enjoyable - I can't help but dance around my apartment and have a good time. The choruses found on songs like “Never Lose Your Flames” and “The Langdon House” will be stuck in your head upon first listen and well into the summer months, as the band continues to tour relentlessly across the United States and overseas. This band has a lot of momentum, and it's going to take a whole lot of force to stop them - I wouldn't be surprised if this album ended up in my Top 10 albums list for 2014.
Choice Cuts: “Mad At Myself”, “The Langdon House”, and “Never Lose Your Flames”.
I just finished listening to this...I'm sorry. I generally try to consider myself an open person. I went into this with an open mind and tried really, really hard to pull the good from this album. But it's really, really, really bad.
Mashing genres can absolutely result in great things, but Issues is the little kid that mixes everything in the cupboards and tries to feed it to you. And you know what? You taste it, because you feel bad. The musicianship, the autotune, the lyrics...this is about as close as you can get to Fashionably Late without being unlistenable. Again, I'm sorry, I know a lot of people are loving this, but for the love of God, I cannot see why. End rant.