Terrible Things - Terrible Things
Record Label: Universal Motown
Release Date: August 31, 2010
Fred Mascherino returns to the music scene once again with the debut album from his new band, Terrible Things. Once you get past the slightly dodgy band name, and give the album a quick listen, it's easy to see that this band put a lot of effort into making these songs as catchy as they are. If you've enjoyed any of Fred's past works, then it's likely you'll enjoy this, although this album is more Louder Now than it is Where You Want To Be. Some of the songs feel like they could happily sit on a Taking Back Sunday album (“Revolution”), while others feel like they would be more at home with The Color Fred ("Conspiracy"). To put it simply, there's something for everyone.
The best songs found on this album almost work as bookends, with "Revolution" and "The Arsonist's Wife" providing the best hooks of the record. In "The Arsonist's Wife," Fred passionately yells “this was all we had/and you took it away for good,” in a vocal moment reminiscent of some of the more aggressive Taking Back Sunday songs. The album also has its softer moments, particularly on “Been Here Before” in which the lyrics describe the feeling of unrequited love (“Now I wonder what this could have been/I fought this and lost you again”). Each song sounds sufficiently different from the last, enough so that the listener doesn't get bored during the album's 39-minute duration. It's this diversity that keeps the album fresh and exciting and ensures that you'll be hooked to the album's concept of arson and fire throughout.
Of course, this album isn't all about Fred. You also have the incredible Josh Eppard (ex-Coheed) on drums and Andy Jackson (ex-Hot Rod Circuit) providing backing vocals and guitar. Andy also sings lead on two songs here, most notably the infectious "Not Alone" that drives along at an almost reckless pace, inviting repeat listens. Andy's contributions to this CD are good, but somehow they just simply don't mix well with Fred's efforts. There's a lack of cohesion, jumping from a song penned by Fred to a song by Andy. For some reason, their writing styles don't contrast well, and this ruins any cohesion the album had achieved within its first half. This is not to say that Andy's songs aren't good, because they are. It's just that his songs don't sit well when placed next to Fred's. As of 2011, Andy Jackson is no longer a part of the band and has seemingly returned to Hot Rod Circuit/Death In The Park, so this is unlikely to be a problem on their next release.
Another flaw the album has is Fred uses two songs, "Lullaby" and "Terrible Things," from his previous bands. It's not that I don't like these songs; it's just that I've heard them before. "Lullaby" is almost 10 years old, and hearing it again on this CD – reworked into an inferior version – is a somewhat disappointing experience. It means that on this album, the listener is only getting eight new songs, two of which are fronted by Andy Jackson. This comes off as slightly lazy on Fred's part, but I'm sure that on the next album this will be rectified. To be fair, Fred did completely change the lyrics in the verses of "Terrible Things" to fit the concept of the album and added electric guitars (the original was predominantly acoustic).
So overall, this is a diverse album that foreshadows a promising future for the band. It ranges from pop-rock ("Conspiracy," "Up At Night") to alternative rock ("Revolution," "Not Alone," "The Arsonist's Wife") to acoustic ballads ("Been Here Before," "Can't Be True"). If you've enjoyed any of Fred's past works (Louder Now or anything released by The Color Fred), then I definitely recommend this album. It’s just as good, if not better. While far from perfect, this album suggests that we could see great things from this band in the future.