The first guitar crunch on Down The Drain, the first track on alternative rock band Suburban Myth‘s album new album Welcome (If Only), begins a journey of mixed emotions and multiple influences all bunched in to fifteen songs. These songs feature some hard moments, some soft moments, many reminiscent of some of our favourite alternative rock bands such as Matchbox Twenty, to name one, only if Matchbox Twenty turned up their distortion just a little.
It’s that first guitar crunch that hits you though. I’m kind of reminded of Shinedown as Down The Drain continues. It has a slow and very melodic pace, just like many Shinedown and Matchbox Twenty songs, but in this case it sounds like a song neither of the two bands would have thought of to write, making it Suburban Myth’s own well picked opening track to Welcome (If Only).
Blind Rage also reminds me of Shinedown, and with it being the second track at first listen I was quick to judge negatively toward such similarities. Then I heard Cool Cat In The Glass, and let out a sigh of relief. While I was impressed with the display of songwriting on Down The Drain, it’s Cool Cat In The Glass where I first started to believe that Suburban Myth could successfully write a whole song from beginning to end, and sound good all while sounding like themselves. This continues over to the track Fly Away Girl, which brings back a bit of Matchbox Twenty to its sound, and then Retake which adds passion to its hooks and melodies that hasn’t been heard yet to this point on the album.
Given how much I enjoyed these heartfelt pop rock tunes which I thought were nothing short of brilliant, I couldn’t wait to hear what Suburban Myth sounded like on a ballad. I mean on an album such as Welcome (If Only) I expected at least one ballad. That ballad is called Love’s Caress, and while it starts off well, it kind of trails off and loses me. After the first chorus it’s a hit or miss as to whether I feel the song or not. Sometimes when I listen to it, it sounds a little forced and corny, other times it’s tolerable, but still lacks what I hoped it would be. I think it’s the music to the song I don’t enjoy so much. It’s full of guitars and piano which I applaud, but it doesn’t match the melodies that Derek Daisey sings.
The song that Suburban Myth promotes the most (it was the song I was given when asked if I’d be interested in reviewing the band) is Crashed and Burned. It is a good song that captures a lot of what the band is about. It captures more of the bands harder Shinedown side (though it doesn’t sound like a Shinedown song), however it is at this point on Welcome (If Only) where I start to see the problem with having so many songs in one album.
From this point on, the songs don’t sound the same or anything, but they don’t entirely stand out. They have their traits that I can compliment, such as Nightmare‘s slow intro-turned-to-a-hard rock song structure and It’s Got You‘s intensity. These songs, when listened to on shuffle (as I do frequently with albums between my first listen and when it comes time to write my reviews) sound perfectly fine; End Of Days for instance has an upbeat indie chime to it that just sounds happy and the title track Welcome (If Only) contrasts End of Days with a dark and more serious sound, but when listening to the album from beginning to end, one can get lost. If not by this point, then eventually.
One song that does stand out to me is Giants, mostly because of its chord progressions that I think are superior to much of the music that most independent bands release. Superlative‘s groove also stands out but fails to match that of what was heard earlier on the album. I don’t mind that Suburban Myth end Welcome (If Only) with Branches and Vines. It has that somewhat upbeat and inspiring sound that some of the earlier tracks had and it has a nice farewell feel to it that I like in any albums closing track.
Welcome (If Only) is better than most albums I’ve been given lately, that’s for sure. The only problem is that it could use about three less songs, and I think I know which three I’d pick. Even the most established of artists rarely get away with an album with more than twelve or so songs that can really keep my attention. And some songs have a strong resemblance to the two bands I’ve mentioned so often, Shinedown and Matchbox Twenty, but I’d say over half of the album has Suburban Myth sounding fully and completely like themselves. I can’t help but mention though that I believe there is some strong songwriting intellect in Suburban Myth, with their mixture of pop-fed rock songs to their edgier stuff. I optimistically look at Welcome (If Only) as a true showcase of that skill.
“Cool Cat In The Glass” – This or any of its two following tracks could easily be a highlight I’d pick for Welcome (If Only) but Cool Cat In The Glass is definitely my favourite of the three. The song doesn’t really feature the harder edge that some of the tracks on the album have, but it shows how Suburban Myth aren’t afraid to have a soft heart behind their rock attitude.
7.5 (Out of 10)
|1||Down the Drain||Suburban Myth||3:01|
|2||Blind Rage||Suburban Myth||3:03|
|3||Cool Cat in the Glass||Suburban Myth||3:38|
|4||Fly Away Girl||Suburban Myth||2:57|
|6||Loves Caress||Suburban Myth||3:29|
|7||Crashed and Burned||Suburban Myth||2:55|
|9||It’s Got You||Suburban Myth||3:21|
|10||End of Days||Suburban Myth||3:31|
|11||Welcome (If Only)||Suburban Myth||3:43|
|13||Bite the Hand||Suburban Myth||2:58|
|15||Branches and Vines||Suburban Myth||3:41|