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The Summer Set - Love Like This Album Cover

The Summer Set - Love Like This

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7.2
The Summer SetLove Like This
Release Date: October 13, 2009
Record Label: Razor & Tie
Without a doubt, watching the dissolution of The Militia Group over the past year or two has been heartbreaking for music fans whose tastes grew up alongside the storied label. After all, the label brought us the likes of Copeland, Lovedrug, Noise Ratchet, Rufio, Cartel, The Beautiful Mistake, and countless other notable acts. TMG seemed to hit a bit of a stumbling block after a string of fruitless upstream deals, but seemed poised for a comeback with a capable roster of young pop aficionados like Mercy Mercedes and The Summer Set. The latter showed a special amount of aptitude, constructing infectious and tight jams at an age when most bands were just picking up instruments or rounding up friends to cheer along at Battles of the Bands. So alas, while The Summer Set are now refugees from the once-iconic Militia Group, it remains to be seen if Razor and Tie can break these stars-in-training. But with a record like Love Like This, they certainly couldn’t have asked for easier material to work with.

Although TMG has signed a plethora of wonderful lo-fi staples over the last decade like The Appleseed Cast and Controlling the Famous, indie-minded hipsters should consider themselves warned before hazarding a listen to Love Like This. There is nothing “hip” or “cool” (at least in a tortoise shell glasses or clove cigarettes sort of way) about this record. It is about as mainstream or Top 40 as anything you’ll hear on the radio or in the five minutes a day MTV actually plays music. That said, The Summer Set’s Love Like This has an undeniable cotton candy charm, and those not averse to sugary-sweet jams will find themselves tapping their toes and singing along to all 11 tracks.

The transition from EPs to LPs can be fraught with difficulty, especially for bands that tend to write breezier tracks (it’s not like The Summer Set is putting together concept albums, after all). That said, these Arizona youngsters make the transition quite gracefully, putting a fair amount of variety into the tracks on LTT, hitting multiple corners of synth-pop and pop-punk (emphasis on pop) subgenres. Brian Dales’ vocals are passionate and bursting with youthful energy, but towards the end of the album, the lack of differentiation across songs is a bit of a detriment. Regardless, taken in small doses, he (and his supporting cast) does an excellent job of carrying what could be a handful of massive singles.

Songs on Love Like This are best viewed in solitary, as there is no true overarching theme to the LP, and this is where the merits of individual tracks are most evident. “The Boys You Do (Get Back At You)” is an upbeat little pop-punk number, showcasing an atypical dose of edginess for the band, serving as a great album opener. From there, though, pop influence washes over the next few tracks, leaving the saccharine, ridiculously catchy “Punk-Drunk Love” to follow. Fans of the band will recognize “Chelsea” next (for better or worse) which has now been inflated, lacquered, and glossed over into a true Radio Ready (TM) anthem. The cut is irrefutably catchy, but the added kitchen-sink layers take away any soul the song once had, making it a likely candidate for the ever-faceless Top 40, but most fans will still prefer the earlier demo version. “Young” has a huge hook, but being as synth-heavy as it is, it makes you wonder why a band like this would ever need two guitarists – same goes for the EP retread of “Can You Find Me?” The record’s title track is a likely candidate for a follow-up single – deservedly so – despite its heavy-handed (over?)production. The band swings the pendulum back to the rock side with songs like “Girls Freak Me Out,” “Passenger Seat,” and “This Is How We Live” which do well to wash out the copious amounts of sweetness from preceding numbers.

Simply put, The Summer Set is one of the most naturally talented pop bands to come out of the scene in the last few years. The group’s first LP, Love Like This, is definitely a solid venture, and a testament to the troupe’s seemingly boundless knack for writing killer pop anthems. Love is not going to bolster anyone’s street cred, but it is a promising collection of charming gems from this band on the rise. Of course, this collection should have come out in May rather than October, and the cuddly synth can be overbearing at times in a way that stretches the boundaries of what can really pass as pop-punk. But in the end, there is no mistaking the fact that The Summer Set is the real deal, and might just be one of the biggest bands everyone will be talking about in a few years.


Recommended if you like: Cartel, Fall Out Boy, We The Kings, The Friday Night Boys, All Time Low
This review is a user submitted review from Steve Henderson. You can see all of Steve Henderson's submitted reviews here.
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 71
08:34 AM on 10/08/09
#2
zachff
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Maybe it shouldn't, but I dislike it when Fall Out Boy is lumped in with bands like the others in the RIYL above.

Compared to those other 4 bands, FOB just blows them out of the water. Will Pugh is the only one whose vocals can come anywhere near P. Stump's, ATL haven't made a start to finish quality CD yet, and the Friday Night Boys are pretty terrible.
08:41 AM on 10/08/09
#3
Trashy
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Good review! I love this band.
08:46 AM on 10/08/09
#4
Gregory Robson
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Not like my opinion counts for much, but they don't sound like a Razor and Tie band to me at all. Oh well, what the hell do I know?
08:47 AM on 10/08/09
#5
stereokiller
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Maybe it shouldn't, but I dislike it when Fall Out Boy is lumped in with bands like the others in the RIYL above.

Compared to those other 4 bands, FOB just blows them out of the water. Will Pugh is the only one whose vocals can come anywhere near P. Stump's, ATL haven't made a start to finish CD yet, and the Friday Night Boys are pretty terrible.
i like Will's voice better than Patrick's.

not sayin' it's correct. well, i'm just sayin' i like Will's voice better.

haha.
08:49 AM on 10/08/09
#6
zachff
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i like Will's voice better than Patrick's.

not sayin' it's correct. well, i'm just sayin' i like Will's voice better.

haha.
To each his own. Pugh's voice is solid. I had a nice little rant up there didn't I.
08:50 AM on 10/08/09
#7
inthemidst
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Good review, Steve. Unfortunately, these kinds of bands are a dime a dozen these days. Nonetheless, I still enjoyed the background info on The Militia Group. They breeded some of my favorite bands/artists over the years (Copeland, The Lyndsay Diaries and early Cartel). It's still somewhat fun to listen "in small doses" as you mentioned.
08:50 AM on 10/08/09
#8
sonicfury
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Maybe it shouldn't, but I dislike it when Fall Out Boy is lumped in with bands like the others in the RIYL above.

Compared to those other 4 bands, FOB just blows them out of the water. Will Pugh is the only one whose vocals can come anywhere near P. Stump's, ATL haven't made a start to finish CD yet, and the Friday Night Boys are pretty terrible.

Despite the fact that I actually like ALL of those bands (i'm not very selective with my music...) I agree with you, fob really aren't comparable to the others, especially if you take their latest album (which i don't particularly enjoy) into account, their sound has developed greatly over the last few years. I'll have to check the summer set out anyway, based on the riyl.
08:52 AM on 10/08/09
#9
nerdvglc
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not to be an ass, but i can tell i'll need to re-read this review later. right now it feels somewhat ambiguous; i can't tell if it'll be fairly solid or not. and what's worse is i know you give several specifics, but i feel i get how you really feel more from your rating numbers than the actual review. i guess i really do need more than 3 hours of sleep to function well... it's atleast something to consider.

either way, i'll give it a spin. one thing i really enjoyed you pointing out is that this is a release best heard through individual songs and their merits. i'm such an album person, but not really a song person, that if i'm expecting an album but not a collection of individually good songs, it can be hard for me sometimes to appreciate a record for what it is. so thanks for preparing me in that way, for sure.
09:01 AM on 10/08/09
Schmidty Says
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I can't lie, I really enjoy this band. Can't wait to hear this!
09:05 AM on 10/08/09
xsinkshipsx
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the militia group was so good and those bands got me into good music.....this makes me sad
09:05 AM on 10/08/09
PlanetDahmz
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These guys are one of my guilty pleasures. Their EP was super good.
09:20 AM on 10/08/09
stereokiller
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To each his own. Pugh's voice is solid. I had a nice little rant up there didn't I.
hey, although i did agree with everything else you said, especially on FNB being terrible.

though i do enjoy Cartel, FOB, and ATL(in that order), I pretty much dislike The Summer Set.

haha.
09:34 AM on 10/08/09
tpnations
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Good review, Steve. Unfortunately, these kinds of bands are a dime a dozen these days. Nonetheless, I still enjoyed the background info on The Militia Group. They breeded some of my favorite bands/artists over the years (Copeland, The Lyndsay Diaries and early Cartel). It's still somewhat fun to listen "in small doses" as you mentioned.
The Lyndsay Diaries...wow. Haven't heard anyone bring them up in years. Gonna have to go see if I can find that CD.
09:35 AM on 10/08/09
Travis Parno
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Good review, Steve. Unfortunately, these kinds of bands are a dime a dozen these days. Nonetheless, I still enjoyed the background info on The Militia Group. They breeded some of my favorite bands/artists over the years (Copeland, The Lyndsay Diaries and early Cartel). It's still somewhat fun to listen "in small doses" as you mentioned.
great call on The Lyndsay Diaries. i love that guy

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