TAT - Soho Lights
Record Label: Red Wagon Records
Release Date: October 28, 2008
Soho Lights, the debut album from TAT, was a long time coming and it is completely worth the wait. Formed in 2003, TAT are a three-piece pop-punk band from London, England comprised of Tatiana DeMaria (guitar/vocals), Nick Kent (bass/background vocals), and Jake Reed (drums/background vocals). In a time when most new bands on the scene are severely lacking any flair or attitude to set them apart, TAT’s debut is truly a beacon of hope that represents just how music should be done.
One thing that immediately stands out to the listener is DeMaria’s infectious personality and delivery of the album’s heartfelt lyrics. She truly is the epitome of rock ‘n’ roll as she combines an in-your-face attitude with sincerity and raw emotion right from the beginning of “Road to Paradise” to the raucous conclusion of “Live for Rock.” What also shines through on the record, though, is TAT’s songwriting ability. They know exactly when to speed things up, slow them down, use guitar solos, and craft choruses that are some of the most anthemic in recent memory.
“Road to Paradise” kicks things off just the right way as it deals with how bands need to fight through all of the hardships that they might come across in order to be able to do what they love for a living. With an opening riff that immediately hooks the listener in and a sing-along chorus, it is easy to see why this track is a fan-favorite. Next up is “Sympathetic Lies,” which is the first song of many to really highlight DeMaria’s fiery personality and talent at singing her lyrics, especially when the song reaches its climax in the final seconds. In “Pessimist,” she warns that she is the cloud to any silver lining and will leave your heart “battered and torn” if given the chance. Yeah, she’s definitely no girly-girl. The song also features an interesting breakdown as Kent and DeMaria duel simultaneously with their respective instruments before Reed’s drumming sends them soaring into the chorus one last time.
After the first three tracks go by at a breakneck pace, it’s time for a slow jam. “Stay Up” isn’t a cheesy ballad, though, because it still has that signature TAT attitude. In it, DeMaria conveys the idea that at the times when she is “fucked up beyond repair” or “guilty of treating apathy with the greatest empathy,” she finds comfort in the friends that help her through those desperate times. Picking the pace back up is “I Don’t Want To (Love You),” a song in which DeMaria spouts out words as fast as lightning during the verses before sailing into a very catchy refrain. Following it is “Everything I Want,” a memorable song with a chorus and pre-chorus that scream for some radio play.
Perhaps the best song on the record, though, is “Here’s to You.” Extremely impressive drum work and bass lines drive the song as DeMaria belts out lyrics condemning the actions of an ex who wronged her. It starts out slow but packs a strong, fast, and aggressive punch in no time as each band member truly shines. Following this stunner is “Diamond Child,” a track that carries a more upbeat tempo to it and a guitar solo by DeMaria that beckons the listener to throw his or her fist up into the air in delight. “Taking it All” has verses that will be stuck in your head for days and a fist-pumping chorus/bridge that help make it stand out even after following two superb tracks. “Sandra Dee” sees DeMaria singing despondently about how people can be so quick to judge and condemn her but ultimately resolving to be proud of who she is no matter what everyone else thinks. After the grunge-esque “Take You Home,” TAT then show their talent at crafting pure pop-punk in “You Hero” which is reminiscent of Warning-era Green Day.
Closing out the record is “Live for Rock,” an attack against the fake acts that surround us today and a reminder of why bands should be making music in the first place: to express themselves by doing what they love. Backed by explosive musical accompaniment, DeMaria snarls through the song with lyrics like: “I’m sick of hypocrisy and fabricated acts / where love for music is sacrificed for cash.” Once again, it is refreshing to see a band wear their hearts on their sleeves and not be afraid to get their hands dirty.
By the time the record reaches its conclusion, TAT have proven that their lights are not anywhere near flickering out and will be shining brightly for a very long time. Soho Lights has everything that a good album should have: raw and emotional lyrics, excellent vocals delivered with an unparalleled attitude, and fantastic instrumentation to round out the package. So, with a fantastic debut in their hands and single-handedly being worth the price of admission for the 2009 Vans Warped Tour, the world better brace itself because TAT are ready for domination and they won’t take no for an answer.
Oh how do I love this band. Um, but I wouldn't consider it pop-punk, I'd consider it a lighter punk rock. Just my thing, I don't see that much pop in it, but to each their own. I'll admit this is hard to classify genre-wise.