Australian pop-punk rockers Tonight Alive have been gaining momentum here in the US since the release of their debut album, What Are You So Scared Of?, in 2012. They set Warped Tour abuzz last summer and were a must-see on this year’s tour as well.
Female-fronted pop-rock bands hold a special place in my heart, and it was love at first sight when I caught Tonight Alive on Warped Tour 2012. The group blew me away with their passionate performance, pitch-perfect pop rock hooks, and huge crowd support. After establishing a solid fan base here in the US through extensive touring, Tonight Alive is continuing their American takeover with their impressive sophomore album, The Other Side, due out on September 10th through Fearless Records.
The pop-punk tracks of This Other Side are textbook in the best possible ways. The album presents the familiar tropes of pop rock infused with an energy, confidence, and passion that makes every lyric hit harder, each guitar riff dig a little deeper, and every melody stick with you a little longer. Reminiscent of Paramore’s RIOT!, The Other Side is infused with soaring buildups and polished instrumentation from beginning to end.
Opener and first single “The Ocean” swells with Whakaio Taahi’s stellar rock guitar riffs and themes of restlessness as it builds and breaks in all the right places. Lead powerhouse vocalist and songwriter Jenna McDougall opens up in the resolute “Hell and Back,” capturing the frustration and determination I experience on a daily basis as a struggling actor in Los Angeles. If you walk by my apartment in Hollywood, you might hear me singing along with the infectious chorus: “I went to hell and back just to be where I am today.”
Each track shows a different side of McDougall struggling with loneliness, pain, or insecurity and emerging stronger and more confident. In “Say Please” she sings, “If you wanna break me I’m already on my knees, I didn’t give my love for you to walk all over me.” The emotional vulnerability, power, and control behind this vocalist calls to mind Hayley Williams of Paramore, a comparison that McDougall has surely heard since the group’s breakthrough, but it should speak to the long career she has ahead of her.
Just check out her impressive vocals and the rest of this group in action in the angst-filled, punk-tinged video for the album’s second single, “Lonely Girl,” below.
Title track “The Other Side” features the sugary sweet pop hooks that make Tonight Alive so irresistible. The song looks back on a first love, reminiscing, “No matter when I ran, I ran to you, I meant it every time I said I loved you,” with an unshakable melody. The energetic “The Fire” follows, packing a punch with Matt Best’s driving percussion.
The Other Side will undoubtedly solidify Tonight Alive as one of the major pop punk acts in America and abroad. As these Aussies continue to ride the wave of positive buzz from live shows and solid singles, there is no telling how high this band will rise in the upcoming year!
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