Streetlight Manifesto - Somewhere in the Between
Record Label: Victory Records
Release Date: November 13, 2007
Streetlight Manifesto have not had it easy throughout the years following Everything Goes Numb. They’ve faced a ridiculous amount of touring thefts as well as clashing with their label. Well, that is they would have clashed if their label actually acknowledged their existence. It got to the point where most people, myself included, began to think their sophomore album would never be recorded. Streetlight Manifesto, however, never seemed to doubt themselves or where they were going. This kind of confidence and optimism is prevalent throughout the music and lyrics of Somewhere in the Between.
The album opens much like the last, with horns. These two similarly-opened songs are as good as any to distinguish what sets Somewhere in the Between and Everything Goes Numb apart from one another. Because, while this is obviously still a Streetlight Manifesto album, there are some fairly important differences which are apparent right away. For one, the horns are much more aggressive and often brought to the forefront of songs. As such they are woven deep into the fabric of each song and it would radically alter the album if they were missing in most places. This couldn’t necessarily be said for the entirety of Everything Goes Numb where sometimes it just seemed as if they were filler to lengthen songs.
The other major difference between the two albums would have to be the vocals. Streetlight Manifesto have always excelled when vocalist Tomas Kalnoky’s delivery is at breakneck speed as proven on “Point/Counterpoint” and “Everything Went Numb” on their previous album. Unfortunately the vocals never quite reach such blistering speeds as often on this album, possibly in an effort to make songs easier to sing-along with. While this works in some instances, the length of the songs works against Somewhere in the Between and it can get quite boring at times in their slower moments. This hurts the lasting value a bit, a flaw which has become much more apparent after a month with the album. All of this is clearly evident from the first track “We Will Fall Together” and holds true for the entirety of Somewhere in the Between.
That pretty much covers the differences between the two albums. Other than that it is the same Streetlight Manifesto fans have come to know and love. Kalnoky’s lyrics are still top notch and cover abstract ideas such as religion and death. While lyrically no punches are pulled as to the hardships they’ve faced as a band as well as individually, the confidence and optimism I referenced earlier never fail to make an appearance. This is obviously what kept the band afloat all these years without a new album and is something most people can relate to.
With Somewhere in the Between Streetlight Manifesto prove they are able to evolve without completely leaving behind what made fans like them in the first place, not to mention their impressive ability to draw the interest of people who would generally have nothing to do with ska. Being able to please both old fans and draw in new ones are all part of what makes a band great. The fact that Streetlight Manifesto are able pull it off, even though the going hasn’t exactly been easy for them, makes any recognition they get well-deserved. In the end, I’d still have to recommend Everything Goes Numb over Somewhere in the Between; however the difference in quality between the two is so nominal it’d be hard to like one and not the other.
Here’s to hoping it won’t be another four years before their next effort.