Take a journey to the ‘Underworld’ with Tonight Alive

Tonight Alive – Underworld – 12/01/18

It’s clear, almost instantly, that Tonight Alive are making a giant leap away from their pop-punk roots.

Produced by Dave Petrovic, there’s a real crunch to the guitar tone in the first song ‘Book of Love’, Jenna’s vocals layered more than usual adds to the tonality of the tune.

Before going further in the album a thought and question pop into my head: How will lead lady Jenna McDougal’s new lease on life and path of self-discovery effect music?
Into Temple, the first single from the album, and we’ve got a seriously catchy tune on our hands. The chorus forces itself upon you with its rhythmic delivery of self-love message “my body is a temple”. There’s something missing from this tune for me that limits of from going up another level.
The latest single to be released, ‘Disappear’, written and featuring PVRIS frontperson Lynn Gunn follows but in all truth falls short for me. Like a caged animal that never really gets to stretch its legs and roar. Maybe expectations got the better of me but I would have expected this to have felt like more of a statement song from two incredible musicians.
There’s a real sense of spirituality in the songs that almost answer my beginning question. This isn’t just in the lyrics but within the music too, the use of layered vocals and delay on guitars has an ethereal feel to them.
I felt a little bit of relief when listening to ‘Crack my Heart’, the album had left me wanting a live-ready song other than ‘Temple’. thankfully, ‘Crack My Heart’ really shows off Jenna’s vocals while allowing the bands to punch out heart thumping music. A middle-8 breakdown adds to the song in a really positive way too.
Weirdly, ‘Last Light’, another truly up-lifting song felt like it should have opened the album. It had real vibes of ‘Limitless’ and would have almost felt like a way of leaving limitless behind before moving into a new stratosphere. Another emotionally charged song that feels like the band giving as much of themselves as possible to us as listeners.

I always appreciate a piano ballad from a band like Tonight Alive, not pretending like they don’t have an incredible vocalist at their helm. Taking full advantage of her voice and not shying away from something a little more downbeat. We are treated to this during ‘Looking For Heaven’.

The final song (and title track) ‘Underworld’, and to be perfectly honest, a GIANT shock for me to hear Corey Taylor sounding an awful lot like he’s singing on a 90’s rock song (which is fantastic). A really interesting song that gets the best of both Jenna and Corey.
Overall, a slightly underwhelming album that falls due to a few cliches within the songwriting. Having said that, it’s so good to see a band so heavily attached to one genre try something different, again.

Review: Will Paddison

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