On face value alone, Tonight Alive could easily be written off as another set of Paramore wannabes but having worked with producer Mark Trombino (Jimmy Eat World, Blink-182, Finch, All Time Low and many others) on their début full-length, you can’t help but think that the Australian group might have something in their arsenal.
Early on tracks like ‘Breaking & Entering’ and ‘Starlight’ are packed with plenty of punch with front woman Jenna McDougall clearly making her mark with soaring, strong vocals.
‘Sure As Hell’ is an early highlight with pounding drums and an addictive chorus that is bound to draw in fans of both pop-rock and pop punk. Whilst ‘Fake It’ keeps up the feel-good momentum with crunching guitars, McDougall’s confident vocals and you can’t go wrong by including harmless “woah-oh” group vocals.
For the most part you kinda know what you’re getting from Tonight Alive; bright, upbeat, chorus-focused numbers yet tracks like ‘Listening’ and ‘Thank You and Goodnight’ give the band a rockier edge with the latter making good use of guest vocals from Mark Hoppus of Blink-182.
Unfortunately towards the later stages of ‘WAYSSO?’ the bands become static and lack ideas; ‘To Die For’ and ‘In The First Place’ could easily be mistaken for earlier tracks and at 14 songs the bands momentum falters as Tonight Alive sadly give way to pleasing the pop-rock crowd.
Nevertheless ‘What Are You So Scared Of?’ does have some gems, and Tonight Alive have the talent and potential to stand out of the shadow of other female-fronted pop-rock bands. This enjoyable début hits all the right spots yet doesn’t quite step out of its comfort zone.
’What Are You So Scared Of?’ by Tonight Alive is available now on Search and Destroy Records (UK) and Fearless Records (US).
Words by Sean Reid (@SeanReid86)