REVIEW: A Loss For Words – ‘Before It Caves’

alossforwords

Band: A Loss For Words
Album: Before It Caves
Genre: Pop-Punk
Label: Rise Records

Boston pop-punk act A Loss For Words have been a band since 1999. This may come as a surprise to some of our younger readers of the site, because it’s only been a few years since A Loss for Words’ more prominent surge into the pop-punk scene. Carving a real name for themselves with their first full length, 2009’s The Kids Can’t Lose, the band became known for their mix of pop-punk and hardcore, with a surprisingly unique singer. With their new record, Before It Caves, A Loss For Words embrace their pop roots, and move in a direction that I think will not just make them even more popular within our scene, but in the surrounding alternative music community.

What A Loss For Words really did with Before it Caves is finally having the confidence to settle into their more pop-leaning tendencies in regards to the pop-punk spectrum. The Kids Can’t Lose, while some of the tracks are very much a more aggressive take on the genre, has lots of influences from Boston’s bread and butter, the hardcore scene. On No Sanctuary we got a little more of the pop shining through, but on Before It Caves, we get a full fledged effort. The instrumentation on the record has a lighter feel to it, with songs such as “No Pioneer” and “Eclipsed,” having just enough structure where it could easily fit in within a radio rotation, without losing their roots in punk. While to some the word “accessible” has negative connotations, Before It Caves is a more accessible piece for music fan’s outside the immediate pop-punk community to jump in and take a look at what this scene is all about. Admittedly, sometimes this record can kind of blur together musically, the middle section especially. I find the first and last few songs to be the most musically engaging songs on the record, and I’d bet a lot of money that those few are the ones that will get more air time in their live set. A Loss For Words have been grinding for years, and in Before It Caves we get to hear the record, I feel, A Loss For Words have been working towards musically.

In terms of the voice, Matty Arsenault has never sounded better on this record. His range, as always, is incredible, and is arguably one of the strongest in the pop-punk scene today. Sounding straight off a late 90s, early 2000s R&B record, Arsenault tells the story of love, relationship, and dealing with the struggles of all of those things. Frankly, the lyrics don’t tread any new ground, and there weren’t that many points that blew me away, but that’s partially because I was too busy paying attention to Arsenaults voice. It’s incredible to me to hear someone sing the way he does over pop-punk music, and I think it’s his voice that really helps set A Loss for Words apart from the rest of their peers. The melodies in the vocals are unbelievably infectious, and beg you to sing along. Also, the addition of the cameos by Jimmy Stadt of Polar Bear Club and Dan Campbell of The Wonder Years was a nice, welcome touch.

Before It Caves is the kind of record you’re going to want to get your hands on. While A Loss For Words doesn’t have the edge or grit these days that their counterparts have, I would not be surprised if in a year or two the band starts to make their way onto the radio, and getting some actual airtime on alternative stations. The record has some of the best vocal melodies you’ll hear this year, and while listeners will definitely be split as to who can get behind it, you will most certainly find me in A Loss For Words’ camp.

 

SCORE: 8/10

Written By: Tyler Osborne (Follow Him On Twitter)

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