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This Time Next Year - Road Maps and Heart... Album Cover

This Time Next Year - Road Maps and Heart...

Reviewed by
7.0
This Time Next Year - Road Maps and Heart Attacks
Release Date: October 20, 2009
Record Label: Equal Vision
Hard to believe that after four years of anticipation, this is the first full-length This Time Next Year has recorded. Preceded by two well-received EPs, the California quartet have concocted a reasonably successful debut with producer Brian McTernan, a guy who coincidentally worked behind the boards on the very band This Time Next Year named themselves after. See? All that hard work paid off.

For the aptly-named Road Maps and Heart Attacks, This Time Next Year haven't topped Broadway Calls or The Swellers on the list of 2009's pop-punk revivalists, but they come close enough to participate as a decently-respectable top five pick in their genre. While it's less Movielife aggression and more Midtown punch with some Yellowcard pop, Road Maps is impressive in terms of sonic clarity and ambition, let alone it feels far more focused from a lyrical standpoint than recent outputs by their peers Fireworks or Hit the Lights. Yes, it's certainly a bit blotchy and runs together upon repeated listens, however the band runs solely on power chords and meaty pop-punk hooks. No joke -- this album maintains a solid pacing with its penchant for axe-shredding and drum beatdowns. It just needs something extra.

"Alex in Wonderland" and "Cheers to a Late Night" are re-recorded leftovers from last year's The Longest Way Home, and do sound better, but lack the grit & sentiment of their past selves. That isn't why you're listening to this album though -- it's what is new here that will propel most of the interest. Pete Dowdell and Brad Wiseman bounce off each other with more precision and flexibility than other dual-vocal pop-punk bands, and as the album starts up with the gem "New Sensation," it's fairly obvious who will or will not enjoy this record. Purely guitars/bass/drums over verse/chorus/verse, this is hardly anything that will revolutionize the modern music scene or blow any casual fan away -- but it does have a nice familiar sound to it that will please the ears. "Calling in Dead" is a bitingly sardonic cut, and "Out on Eastern" skates by on touches of grandeur.

That is the band's double-edged sword of doom, however, because for all the familiarity we are comfortable & content with... it only means we've heard it before and This Time Next Year plays it pretty safe for all 31 minutes. The tale of their unfortunate circumstances in Missouri, "New Florence," ends before it can really get started and "No Bed of Broken Glass" has no true distinguishing features for it to stand out from the pack. "Liquid Diet" also feels too rushed and is puzzlingly generic; it might very well have you questioning whether or not you skipped back to a previous track. There is simply far too little variety implemented across the eleven tracks that do pack an ample amount of shred-tastic foreplay into the mix, but fail at spacing themselves apart.

To use a football-related analogy: You can't keep calling the same running play on every offensive drive -- otherwise the defense will continually come down on you with each impending down. Throw a pass, hand it to your fullback or even call a draw play -- hell, maybe even a Wildcat! Something that will set your offense apart and limit your predictability. This Time Next Year just doesn't have enough play-calling experience to allow any expansion, leaving them high & dry after each repeated listen. The first few times, it's a treat... but no new territory is ventured, and nothing new is ever gained as time goes on.

This Time Next Year have been anxious to get out there and release something that shows off who they are and while they still have some room left for improvement, Road Maps isn't a half-bad start; it won't do much for you this time next year (see what I did there?), but for the meantime, if you need a break from the other pop-punk albums that have been clogging up your iPod's playlist... it's not a terrible way to spend half an hour. Just don't expect anything versatile.

Recommended if You LikeMidtown meets Yellowcard without the violin; Set Your Goals; Fireworks; The Wonder Years; Bangarang!; Four Year Strong
Choice Cuts"New Sensation," "Calling in Dead" and "Out on Eastern"


Track Listing1. Rise & Fall, Curtain Call
2. New Sensation
3. Alex in Wonderland
4. New Florence
5. Rhyme and Reason
6. No Bed of Broken Glass
7. Calling in Dead
8. Liquid Diet
9. Mischief With No Direction
10. Out on Eastern
11. Cheers to a Late Night
Band MembersPete Dowdalls - vocals
Brad Wiseman - guitar/vocals
Denis Cohen - guitar
Tony Allio - bass


Online VitalsOfficial Myspace
PurchaseiTunes | Amazon MP3
This review is a user submitted review from Chris Fallon. You can see all of Chris Fallon's submitted reviews here.
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 47
04:52 AM on 11/03/09
#2
Jaimehere
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I LOVE THIS ALBUM, pretty solid review and rating, would give the album 70-80 too, Great listen nonetheless
06:06 AM on 11/03/09
#3
PPunk
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Do not agree at all with " it's certainly a bit blotchy and runs together upon repeated listens". In fact, I feel the opposite, liking Road Maps and Heart Attacks more and more with each listen.
07:22 AM on 11/03/09
#4
inthemidst
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I love this album. Brings me back to the glory days of pop-punk.
07:45 AM on 11/03/09
#5
tobyg
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Love this album and disagree with the reviewer in its' lasting value. I do agree that some variety could not hurt and maybe on their next CD they will adress that. My overall raitng is 83. Thanks to TTNY for bringing back the days of early 2000s pop-punk which many of us still love.
07:54 AM on 11/03/09
#6
zachff
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Midtown meets Yellowcard without the violin? Color me interested
08:17 AM on 11/03/09
#7
gr33ndayfr3ak
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Bangarang! in the RIYL is perfect. Great album.
08:28 AM on 11/03/09
#8
SuchAPerson22
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Alex in Wonderland?
YES.
I need to listen to this... I haven't checked out anything new by them in about 2 years(ish)
10:29 AM on 11/03/09
#9
Steve Henderson
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Personally, I would gladly take this record over The Swellers and Broadway Calls, but I guess I am more aligned with the pop side of pop-punk. This is the type of album Drive Thru would have put out around the turn of the century, and that is about the highest praise you can give a disc like this.

"Calling In Dead" is definitely one of the best tracks to see the light of day in 2009.
10:45 AM on 11/03/09
Yellowcard2006
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I agree with your review. It's really good in parts but during my first listen I couldn't tell tracks 3-11 apart from each other at all.. I just turned it off. But I actually enjoyed it more over repeated listens. A good first album, here's hoping they have a little more variety in the next one.

Also I think it's kinda weird that they don't have a drummer in the band...how did that happen?
11:09 AM on 11/03/09
P_T_W
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Fair review. I dig these guys a lot.. but then again, i have a boner for pop-punk.
11:14 AM on 11/03/09
Chris Fallon
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I agree with your review. It's really good in parts but during my first listen I couldn't tell tracks 3-11 apart from each other at all.. I just turned it off. But I actually enjoyed it more over repeated listens. A good first album, here's hoping they have a little more variety in the next one.

Also I think it's kinda weird that they don't have a drummer in the band...how did that happen?
He left the band but maybe somebody could provide some insight on that. I searched high & low for a definitive answer but failed to find one in any news articles or their myspace. There was definitely another member earlier this year... I just don't know anything about who he is or why he is gone.
11:20 AM on 11/03/09
denissuxx
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Good review, agree with it, although I need to listen to this album more, and see if it's worthy of more than 70%
12:08 PM on 11/03/09
splitfinger
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Okay - I agree with a few things the reviewer said. I do not like Liquid Diet and "this is hardly anything that will revolutionize the modern music scene or blow any casual fan away -- but it does have a nice familiar sound to it that will please the ears". And that familiar sound brings me back to the glory days of pop-punk.

Other than that I disagree with much of the review. In my opinion, the football analogy is ridiculously over the top. I also appreciate music more when when the songs grow on you the more you listen. For me, that is the case here, the more I listen the more I like it. In fact, I love this album.
12:33 PM on 11/03/09
lightcollapse
on the edge of summer
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Ridiculously generic/unoriginal, hooks aren't that strong. Agree with the review mostly.

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