Treating punk pop to a strong dose of energetic enthusiasm and infectious enterprise, Never Say Die from British band The Action Plan is a powerful and pleasing riot which leaves one fully satisfied and keen to enjoy again. It is an album which you cannot really say ventures anywhere distinctly new with its nineties flavoured sounds but still offers enough additives and ideas to make the band noticeable amongst many other similar bands emerging over the past year or so.
Never Say Die is the debut release from the band which formed in 2008 in South Wales. Taking inspiration from the likes of Set Your Goals, The Story So Far, and Blink 182, The Action Plan went through many personnel changes before finding the stable line-up of Danny (bass/vocals), Thom (guitars/backing vocals), Rich (guitars/ backing vocals), and Harry (drums/backing vocals). Moving to Bristol led the quartet to bigger audiences and options, the band subsequently supporting bands such as Catch 22, The Futureheads, Max Raptor, and Vampire Weekend. Now with its nationwide release the new album is set to inspire a greater recognition and fan base for their magnetic sounds.
Consisting of eight contagious songs bristling with sheer catchiness and delicious hooks, the release is a heart-warming feast of energy and sound to get the juices flowing. Whether the songs are memorable enough to stay with their recipients away from the album is debatable but in its company they make for a fiery and pleasurable encounter. Starting with the thumping Hometown Hero, the release ignites an appetite for the album right away. The track is a muscular engagement with commanding rhythms and a deeply shadowed bassline which is totally compulsive and lined alongside riffs which come with their own snarl and bright sonic melodies, the track is a strong start to the release. The vocals of Danny, ably supporting by the others throughout, remind of CIV vocalist Anthony Civarelli, the music here and often throughout the album when bringing a harder gait to its presence also recalling the New York band.
The electronic whispers of the opener become more vocal in the following Believe It Or Not and subsequent songs. The track is a warm romp with the ear which again whilst offering no deep well of originality ensures a continued eager intent to allow the release to wrap its anthemic and melodic arm around the senses. That willingness is soon rewarded with tracks like Had It All and Live Strong. The first is a song which is spawn from the Blink 182 type of pop, all infection and energetic heat and the other the first of tracks which do attempt and relatively succeed in going into some kind of new adventure. Though it evolves into an expected stomp of viral attraction through bruising riffs and finely shaped hooks, the almost folk metal like tease during its opening seconds is exceptional. One of the few tracks bringing a more hardcore breath, it is a thrilling combatant.
The title track shuffles up its gait and ideas nicely whilst This One is instantly magnetic with its anthemic beats and strong vocal start. Both songs invite intrigue with their more unpredictable imagination though overall they still emerge as enjoyable rampages which stay well within the rules of the genre whilst leaving one perfectly satisfied. The same can be said of the remaining songs, So You Say and Suits And Ties; though both suggest the unique sound the band has yet to discover maybe is not that far away. The pair of songs both step into unexpected avenues to bring the biggest excitement on the release, the closing track especially in its initial caress discovering a new un-genre like face which one hopes they investigate further and use throughout a song rather than just to introduce it.
Never Say Die is a fine album which only makes for a fun and enjoyable time, and that is all one wants in a release at the end of the day.
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