Amber Pacific, an emo-punk quintet from Federal Way, WA, follow up their Fading Days EP with The Possibility and the Promise on Hopeless Records. Having released their EP in 2004, Amber Pacific look to expand their sound with a full-length debut in 2005.
With most of Amber Pacific's members barely out of their teens, one should expect to find a youthful burst of punk energy right from the start and The Possibility and the Promise doesn't disappoint. The album opens with the blazing guitars and inventive breakdowns of "Everything We Were Has Become What We Are" and follows it up with the hook-laden "Poetically Pathetic." These songs' combination of straightforward punk and catchy choruses mimics Relient K at its best, while "Gone So Young" features a radio-ready chorus that follows up these first two nicely.
While The Possibility and the Promise opens with a promising trio of songs, it's unfortunate that the rest of the album doesn't hold up. The problem? First of all, Amber Pacific is young and falls into the trap of repeating itself too often. Pop-punk (as a genre) is formulaic and simplistic enough to begin with, and it's hard for Amber Pacific to sustain its momentum without most of the album sounding the same. Although the band tries to mix it up a little (introducing pianos on "If I Fall"), the band appears to run out of new ideas less than halfway through the album. (On that note, is that the melody to the worship song "My Life Is In You Lord" on the guitar break for "Always You (Good Times)?") The second problem is that the rest of the songs simply aren't strong enough to stand out and grab the listener's attention. The melodies are too bland and the choruses aren't memorable enough to make The Possibility and the Promise anything more than a forgettable album in the end.
To make matters worse, this album isn't very lyrically mature either. While emo bands have a certain inalienable right to sing about personal relationship woes, it still takes a level of tact to avoid sounding too sappy or emotional in the process. Amber Pacific is unabashedly emo, as their song titles suggest ("Save Me From Me" and "The Sky Could Fall Tonight," etc), so it's no surprise that most of this album is lyrically focused on girls. This would be fine if the sentiments expressed in these songs were wistful or endearing in any way, but too often the band relies on trite and clichéd expressions to carry their emotion. The worn-out pleadings of "The Right To Write Me Off" ("Can we make this last forever? / Remember how we used to be?") lacks any serious depth while the high school sentiments of "The Sky Could Fall Tonight" ("If the sky should fall tonight / I will be here at your side") are forgivable only by the fact that this band is just a few years removed from actual high school.
As the first few songs suggest, this band might have what it takes to stand out from the crowd and write really good songs. However, their songwriting will have to improve (both musically and lyrically) in order to truly separate themselves from the Stellar Kart's and Simple Plan's of the world. For pop-punk fans, this band isn't horrible, just terribly bland and uninteresting - something that more age and experience are sure to fix.- Review date: 5/23/05, written by Sherwin Frias
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