I'd say by a lot: Soupy has more vocal range, the melodies are more dynamic, and the songs themselves end up being more diverse ... "Golden Record" borders on monotony at times ... in a way that the band hadn't in the past. The highs may be higher ... but the lows are definitely lower and more pronounced as they drone.
I'm pretty sure the vocal ranges are almost identical. Soupy sings a high B flat during the climax to "Screen Door," AJ has high B's all over "Drowning." Neither sings notes that are particularly low.
|But they change all those songs to fit in the closer ... they're not cut out of the original songs and placed in.|
The changes are extremely minute. Some melodies get one or two notes changed, others just get slowed down, and others are quoted directly. It's actually quite artful how they do it, but the fact that the pieces fit together so well speaks to the inherent similarity that the songs shared in the first place. I'm not trying to tear that record down: it's currently in my top ten, and I could easily see myself liking it more than Golden Record come the end of the year. I just feel like you are being particularly hard on this band for doing something that so many other outfits in the pop-punk or pop-rock scenes do with every album. There's only so much you can do with four chords and a verse-chorus-bridge pop song structure, and I have always thought this band handled those constraints better than many from their scene.
|But that's because "Knives" is the outlier in the album ... also arguably the best song ... due to this diversity (the two outlier songs are the best on the album -- the other being "Miles Apart"). "Catholic Girls" and "Anchor" sound like you could cut the gap between them and not realize you've changed songs. Where is the crescendo? Where is the climax?|
Haha, I actually think it's the weak point, but that's a different argument entirely. I don't think "Catholic Girls" and "Anchor" sound even remotely alike. And the climax is "Anchor," definitely. That song couldn't be anywhere but at the end of a record.