Set It Off Ė Cinematics
Record Label: Equal Vision Records
Release Date: September 18th, 2012
Iíve never been too familiar with Tampa, FL pop-rock band Set It Off. They were a pop-rock band in vein of bands like Artist Vs. Poet, All Time Low, Forever the Sickest Kids, and I donít care for that kind of music anymore. I was familiar with one song they did, and I enjoyed the track immensely, but forgot about it after awhile. I listened to a song from debut record Cinematics, out on Equal Vision Records, and I was quite interested, because it was so different from their prior material. It wasnít way too different, but it was different, nonetheless. I didnít know what to expect going into this record, but after I listened to it, I was quite confused, to be honest; I didnít know what sound they were going for. Iíll explain that more in detail later on, but if I had to describe this record in a sentence, I would say this: Itís an enjoyable record, but itís rather generic, and confusing. That makes it seem like I didnít like it, but in reality, there were things I liked, and things I didnít like. This isnít a perfect by no means, but there are some rather glaring flaws in the record. I wasnít too pleased with it, so I may not be playing this record a lot. However, there are things I did enjoy about it, and without further ado, letís dive right into this review.
The record starts off with ď(Hidden Track)Ē and itís a hidden track, in the beginning. Why a hidden track is right in the beginning doesnít make sense, but the track is only 40 seconds, then it leads into a twenty-second intro called ďThoughts That Breathe.Ē Iím not in the actual record, and Iím already finding glaring flaws with it. The fact there are two intros on here does not make me very happy, because itís completely unnecessary. Right from the start, vocalist Cody Carson is not a bad vocalist, but his voice just irritates me a bit. He can clearly sing, but heís rather boring, to be honest. The second intro leads into ďNightmare.Ē This is one of the more enjoyable tracks on the record, because itís really catchy. The lyrics are also rather haunting a bit, and certainly fits in a Halloween theme. However, thatís not the case with most of the lyrics on this CD. The band describes itself as an orchestral pop band, and I do kind of see that a bit. However, the main problem I had with this CD is how they cram so many sounds into 40 minutes, itís so hard to really determine what theyíre trying to be. Regardless, itís not an awful record, by no means. Iíve heard worse, but there are some flaws in this CD that are rather glaring. While ďNightmareĒ was a cool song that really demonstrated their sound, second track ďSwan SongĒ is a complete step backwards. They remind of fellow Equal Vision band I The Mighty at certain times, and this one song where they sound exactly alike. I adore that band, but this one? Not so much. This is one song where they have a more pop-rock sound, and it does work, but the lyrics are just extremely generic and boring. The same goes for the next few tracks. Thereís really not too many moments on this record that I would consider as genuine highlights. There are some, but they are hard to find.
Next track ďPlastic PromisesĒ is not one of them. This is another track that has a pop sound, and the instrumentation is nice sometimes, because thereís a horn of some kind in the bridge, which is really cool. This band is different, and I do applaud them for that, but their identity is still something of a mystery to me. It seems they donít know what kind of band they are. However, sixth track ďIíll Sleep When Iím DeadĒ is another highlight, thankfully. This track I do enjoy, because itís a bit ďheavierĒ than all the other tracks before it. The lyrics are rather creepy, and it just has a really creepy vibe, but itís so cool. However, there is a bit of screaming about half way in, and I canít take that seriously whatsoever. Thereís a bit of unnecessary screaming throughout this record, and it seems like they want to be some post-hardcore band, too. I donít really understand it, but it doesnít hinder from the record too much, because thereís not too much screaming on it. I can handle a little bit, even if itís generic, and unnecessary. ďNo ControlĒ is a track that I do really like; this is genuine highlight. If they stuck to this sound, I could really get into this band. However, not too many songs on the record sound like this.
After ďNo Control,Ē there arenít too many songs I like after that. However, there are three. The first one is, ironically, the song right after, ďDream Catcher.Ē I love the message of this song, and it continues that experimental/pop-rock sound that I do really like. Then the next track I enjoy is tenth track, ďDistance Disturbs Me.Ē The music itself is okay; itís merely a pop-rock song, but the lyrics I can relate to. Thatís why I like it, and itís really the only song I can relate to lyrically on this CD. However, the last song I really enjoy on this CD is ďDadís Song,Ē which is the eleventh track. This is a slower, acoustic track about Carsonís father, whom I assume passed away. Itís a sad, but beautiful track. It really shows off the band at their best. This is the only song I can say I really like. I didnít like too many of the tracks, aside from that.
This record isnít terrible, but there are things I didnít like whatsoever about it. Mainly, I didnít like the lyrics a lot, because theyíre so generic, and clichť at times. Thereís really nothing I can take from them, especially nothing I havenít heard before. Aside from ďDadís SongĒ and a few other tracks, I donít care for the lyrics at all. The music itself I have no problem with, but this band is slightly genre-confused. At times, they have a pop-rock sound, other times itís post-hardcore, and other times itís experimental. I donít know what they want to be, and maybe they donít know what they want to be. However, it all tends to fall to the wayside because thereís no much to take in at once. It is different, and I will give it that, but Iím really not a big fan of this band. Itís not awful, but itís rather generic at times, even if they do try to be different. This is something I recommend to listen once, however. If you like it, thatís awesome, but ultimately, this record fell short to me.
cody carson is an asshole and everything wrong about the modern music industry. this guy got on stage with all time low and then got high on himself and started a shitty pop band. he was asking his 'fans' to spam any and ever record label via e-mail to get his band signed...when they had been a band for about three months. i see him and his bands success as a travesty.
Heard some praise for this band, and it honestly makes no sense. The vocalist has almost zero range and a handful of phrasing patterns, drums are adequate but monotonous, bass just plays root notes 99% of the time, guitars are pretty bland as well. It seems the instruments want to create a backing for the boring vocals and idiotic lyrics (that "I'll Sleep When I'm Dead" song is a good example). People act like the "orchestral" elements are something to marvel at, when they sound like someone just superimposed bland and overwrought MIDI files over boring pop-rock. This sounds like MCR trying to be "heavy"; honestly, this is overall one of the most irritating and aggressively mediocre things I've ever heard, and I cannot stand it for that reason.