The Mae-like vocals of "Wave of Regret," and the heavily Relient K-influenced tunes (from the Mmhmm era) "Illusion of Freedom," "Desperate Times," "Rabbit Hole," and "Long Road From Nowhere," are all highlights of the album. The driving guitars and manic speed drumming of the latter two songs especially pay homage to a clear influence on their sound. And the rest of the record is solid as well. While the aforementioned tracks are my runaway favorites, there isn't a bad apple among the bunch when it comes to the sonic palate.
On their 2020 debut, It's the Little Things, my biggest critique (albeit a small one) was that the lyrics trended toward the cliches of the pop/punk genre. This time around, I was hoping for some growth, a little depth to add to their musical muscle. Unfortunately, this time out, it's more of the same with an added bummer of song-after-song remaining on the surface level. There's a story of heartbreak and confusion here, but it remains far too cloaked in vague struggle and angst to fully latch on. Add to the ambiguous nature of the lyrics a deficit of hope, and I'm largely disappointed with what could have been a great album. Is it still worth listening to for yourself? Absolutely. It's just something I couldn't get past.
All in all, there's more than half an album I can fully recommend here, but A Single Spark is only a minor step in the right direction of growth from their debut. With added depth, greater glimmers of hope, and a continued honing of their sound, Charming to the Last may fully win this reviewer's heart, but for now, it's still a relationship in progress.- Review date: 9/6/22, written by Josh Balogh of Jesusfreakhideout.com
Record Label: None
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