We Are the In Crowd - Guaranteed to Disagree
Record Label: Hopeless Records
Release Date: June 8, 2010
Lately I have found that my patience for sugary pop rock music is at an all time low. Whenever I hear a new band playing power chords over electric drums and using voice editors with no shame, I quite literally have to restrain my anger. These are the bands who get signed to big record labels while the best bands that I adore are trying ten times harder without seeing one-tenth of the profit. We Are the In Crowd's latest offering, Guaranteed to Disagree, is pop rock in its purest form. Heavy on the synth, light on the guitar, electric drums all around, and dual male/female vocals. But for some reason, this EP has taken me off of my high horse of hating on pop rock and brought me back down to Earth. Now that I'm back with the humans, I've been playing out Guaranteed to Disagree endlessly, as it is a perfect execution of candy-coated, cavity-inducing pop rock that is produced excellently.
From the outside, We Are the In Crowd seem like just the band I would dislike. They have a pretty terrible name, the cover of this EP is a conglomeration of too many colors, and they have a song called "For the Win". But despite my extremely unfair and negative attitude going into my first listen, I was singing along by the end of the first song. Featuring the lead vocals of Tay Jardine, who sounds more like Hayley Williams than every Yelyah wanna-be in the history of Brazilian fangirls, and the back-up vocals of Jordan Eckes, whose haircut could land him a lead role in a Forever the Sickest Kids music video, We Are the In Crowd really manage to nail down the male/female trade-offs. Essentially what Guaranteed to Disagree comes across as is a (better) version of All Time Low's Nothing Personal featuring Hayley Williams on lead vocals with Alex Gaskarth helping out every once in a while. Opener "Carry Me Home" shows exactly what the band is all about, with massive hooks, a chorus that sticks to your tongue like cotton candy, and above average execution of dual vocals. The guitars are simple and the lyrics are terrible at times, but I couldn't care less. "Carry Me Home" is one of the catchiest songs to come out in 2010.
"Never Be What You Want" is the poppiest song on an extremely poppy record, beginning with some autotuned vocals from Eckes. However, the autotune could be worse, and even though this song reminds me at the beginning of "Walls", the worst song on Nothing Personal, Jardine makes it worth sitting through in the choruses. Also enjoyable are the guest vocals of Will Pugh from Cartel. If you doubt the Hayley comparisons, just listen to the first eleven seconds of "Both Sides of the Story", which is probably the weakest song on this offering. The chorus still shines, but the lyrics are really bothersome in this track, featuring the gem "You don't take me serious / Boy, you make me furious / You left me hanging around / With all your whack friends". Anyway, you shouldn't be listening to this EP looking for inspiration or anything, so just try to get past the lyricism.
Following the weakest song on Guaranteed to Disagree is the strongest song and first single, "Lights Out". It manages to top the chorus of "Carry Me Home" and got stuck in my head the most after my first listen and made me want to hear more. The bridge is also really strong here, as the band shout out to their hometown of Poughkeepsie, New York and show off the only instance of gang vocals on the EP. "We Need A Break" is a pure dance-pop single that, in a world that was fascinated by "Fireflies", should get plenty of attention if Hopeless Records can put it out there. As the EP winds down, "For the Win" defies its terrible title by delivering yet another sing-along chorus while "Calendar Pages" showcases a powerful hook. The final song is a relief because it isn't a catastrophically ill-advised acoustic number that tries to show the band's "versatility" or a gross attempt at a ballad that is only paralleled in its lack of appeal by people who listen to Cash Cash. We Are the In Crowd know what they're good at, and do just that and nothing more for all seven songs on this EP.
After hearing Guaranteed to Disagree, the group's debut for Hopeless Records, and knowing what Hopeless did for All Time Low, it wouldn't surprise me in the least if Guaranteed to Disagree goes down as We Are the In Crowd's stepping stone to the mainstream. There are at least two extremely marketable singles on this EP, and they already have the look and feel of the next mainstream media darlings. Playing on Warped Tour the entire summer should help the band add more fans, as their fusion of All Time Low and Paramore will have no problem attracting listeners. Guaranteed to Disagree is We Are the In Crowd's way of proving to us that they can do the summertime pop rock just as well as anyone else.