Review: Tonight Alive Proves They Are Not 'Limitless' With Disappointing Album

Category:  The Arts
Wednesday, March 16th, 2016 at 9:03 PM
Review: Tonight Alive Proves They Are Not 'Limitless' With Disappointing Album by Kimberly Firestine
Tonight Alive struggles to find a consistent sound with their newest LP.

Tonight Alive has toured with some of the biggest bands in the alternative/poppunk scene. Their latest release, a fulllength LP called “Limitless,” may have those familiar with the band confused and slightly concerned for its future.

“Limitless” is the most produced album Tonight Alive has released to date. Landing March 4 on Fearless Records, the album is 11 tracks of power ballads, synthetic melodies and songs that may be a better fit for a Wilson Phillips album (“Power of One,” for example). Overall, it almost leaves you hoping that Tonight Alive’s next release gives the band the boost they need to keep them afloat in today’s highly competitive alternative scene. The first single, titled “Human Interaction,” was announced alongside the album’s initial details on Oct. 30.

Bands are allowed to grow and change their sound up, but I’m not certain this change worked in Tonight Alive’s favor. Opening track “To Be Free” was the second single released from the album. It begins with synthetic vocal layers and a slight resemblance to past releases, but is still different enough to leave you wondering what the direction of the album actually was. It’s nothing we’ve ever heard from the band and would have been better off further down the track list.

The song closest to resembling anything we’ve heard from the band prior is found in the track “How Does It Feel?” Its opening riffs give you just enough to pull your faith back into the album and we’re met with the aggressive lyricism from past Tonight Alive records. “I was caught up in the mystery, you were running from your history/Tangled up in the memory, tell me how you sleep,” sings frontwoman Jenn McDougall. Rightfully so, this track was released as the third single off of the LP, with a music video released on Jan. 12.

Perhaps Tonight Alive will find success with the most upbeat and top 40-worthy song on the release, “Drive,” which was released on Spotify and available with album preorders Dec. 11. Its synth-heavy melodies and catchy chorus (“Oh, we’ll say yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah/ No, no, no, no/My way or the highway”) could provide the band with some muchneeded mainstream success for the spring. Only time will tell whether or not this change of sound and direction pays off for the band.

Another notable track on the album is “I Defy,” a song that seems to serve as a callout for those who have taken advantage of McDougall. “You’re criminal, subliminal, manipulating/I won’t fall for it,” she sings. “I’m not afraid to cross the line/You will break as I defy.”

Tonight Alive is Cam Adler (bass), Matt Best (drums), Jake Hardy (guitar), McDougall (vocals) and Whakaio Taahi (guitar). You can see them currently on tour in the US with Set It Off, The Ready Set and SayWeCanFly. Following their stint in the US, they will head to Japan for the 2016 edition of the PunkSpring music festival.

Kimberly Firestine is the Senior Staff Writer for The Spectator.

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