July – What We Signed Up For
Record Label: TDR Records
Release Date: November 12, 2013
All the way from Toronto, July are hitting with their latest pop-punk record, What We Signed Up For. It’s been a busy year for the band, including stints on Warped Tour and Koi Fest as well as shows with We Are The in Crowd and Hit The Lights. While not exactly being anything groundbreaking in the genre, the record will surely appeal to fans of acts like All Time Low and We Are The in Crowd, for sure. If you’re looking for something completely new to the pop-punk world, this one probably isn’t for you.
Upbeat guitars and pace-quickening drums fire off the title track before the bass kicks in with Devin Moody’s vocals. Immediately once the chorus hits, you know you’re in for a catchy ride with this record. “West Coast Pimpin’” begins rather somberly with the line “I’m afraid that I’ve become / Something less than what I was searching for.” Unexpectedly and in no time at all, a breezy synth pops in and your foot gets tapping along as the song now carries a hopeful feel while Moody sings, “I’m searching for something.”
“Right Here For You” has a nice Simple Plan vibe. The track offers a change in formula, with the drums pace changing from upbeat to calm. The guitars start and stop, giving the track a more diverse feel while still sticking to its upbeat core. It’s easily one of the strongest cuts on the record. Similarly, “Dance, Shuffle, Move Your Feet” makes it pretty clear why these guys have toured with with Hit The Lights. The track screams Skip School, Start Fights – from the whoa-ohs to the backing guitar work to the anthem-like vocals.
Both “Eight Nine Eight” and “Second Best” are as fast paced as it gets here, with drummer Sam Guaiana really taking the spotlight by setting the pace. Unfortunately, the unnecessary and distracting presence of autotune really downgrades the former. Thankfully, the latter stands out on the record’s second half, having some of the strongest drumming on the album. Guaiana keeps the pace behind the kit at ten the whole time, while the vocals slowed down vocal delivery is a page straight out of an All Time Low book.
Although it’s probably a bit cliché to end a record like this with a ballad, “Collapse” is one of the best tracks on the record because of this. It’s a needed moment of diversity. Thus, it's perhaps a double-edged sword because it makes you realize that this album needs more diversity. If more tracks like this were placed throughout the record, it would probably give the listener a nice break, rather than having the tracks blur together. There is a lesson to be learned here – if July can follow the vein of “Collapse” and keep the diversity of the tracks up, I could see them being a band like Mayday Parade with a strong set of upbeat jams and softer ballads. Even the bonus acoustic version of “What We Signed Up For” attests to this ability. For now though, while What We Signed Up For isn’t anything groundbreaking, it’s an enjoyable listen if you’re looking for some simple pop-punk to play in the sun.
I was really hoping that this was an entire full length of new songs and its just the EP songs with a few new tracks added to make a full length. For fans who haven't heard the EP before it will sound like an entire new record so that's cool...