With the pedigree of its members, expectations for the debut album from This Legend were demanding but also wanting to be seriously surprised. After a strong but underwhelming start, the LA quartet not only fed all wants whilst utilising familiar pop punk ingredients in a series of relentlessly contagious encounters, but sculpted a continuous adventure of unique and gripping twists across the release. The result is an album which, like an old friend instinctively and continually ignites the sweet spot of desires of the genre whilst creating brand new and captivating temptations. It’s In The Streets is a gem of a proposition which does surprise and find its own character but also provides that recognisable essence which turns every song into an instantaneously bordering on anthemic lure.
Formed by ex- Yellowcard members Longineu Parsons III (drums) and Ben Harper (guitar), the former leaving the band earlier this year and reuniting with his friend who left their former outfit nine years earlier, This Legend was soon bulging with experience and talent as the pair brought in vocalist/guitarist Chris Castillo (Stanley and the Search), and bassist Steven Neufeld (Hey Mike!) to complete the line-up. Signing with Cyber Tracks, an LA based record label owned by El Hefe (of NOFX) and his wife Jen Abeyta, the band soon set about recording their debut with producer Sam Pura (The Story So Far, State Champs). In what has already been a busy year for the new band, This Legend now unveil its opening shot and you can only surmised that the attention and workload is only going to get more hectic as its virulent charms spreads their pleasure.
As mentioned the album did not exactly blow ears and thoughts away at first though opener Lyrics With My Pen certainly strides in on a rhythmic temptation which instantly grips attention. It is a dramatic start which loses its potency as the song relaxes into an accomplished and confident stroll of warm riffs and spicy hooks stroked by the excellent vocals of Castillo. The track does little wrong to be fair but equally just provides what so many other genre offerings seem to, something enjoyable and engaging but nothing out of the ordinary, even with the impressive craft of Parsons III pounding away throughout. Subsequently though the track turns out to be an appetiser for greater things which are hinted at by the following Feeling Like I Should and fully triggered from Holiday From Crazy onwards. The first of the pair is a warm and radiant persuasion, a lively croon where vocals and guitar provide a colourful emotive portrait from which the chorus finds a rich infection to spark the imagination. It is the little twists of chords and hooks though which intrigue and ignite the song; elements explored even more from hereon in as its successor takes over. The third song flies at ears with melodies and rhythms pumped and creative tenacity aflame. There is a spicy mix of early Green Day and Simple Plan to the song but the rich hues of sonic adventure and rhythmic drama are the riveting and ear exciting endeavour which makes a great song into something special.
The album’s title track with its emotive depth and vocal expression thrills next, rhythms intimidating bait within the rawer but no less seductive landscape of the energetic and controlled blaze. Again there is a dramatic edge to vocals and sound which elevates every syllable and note into something unpredictable, fresh, and exhilarating; the track a swift peak emulating its predecessor but in turn matched and exceeded by the volatile stomp that is My City. Wonderfully exhausting and inescapably contagious, the track is a highly charged punk antagonist flooded with fiery melodic hooks and teases within another knee weakening, passions lighting rhythmic assault. To seal its dominance on the album, it also provides a mouth-watering change of gait and hook clad predation, a twist which actually rings a bell of undefined influences but puts the icing on a flavoursome chunk of pop punk.
Skin & Bones comes next and provides an impassioned stroll within bracing riff laced scenery speared by again perfectly barbed hooks, Castillo especially impressive and engrossing vocally, whilst Life Pushes Hard dances with ears through tangy melodies over a feisty shuffle of rhythms and bass temptation. Both tracks keep ears and appetite greedy, the first especially raising a new hunger before the pair of I Deserve Better and Moving On add their creative spoils to the feverish revelry. The first of the two excels with its spiky riffs and wiry grooves and the second through its tantalising weave of emotive melodies and vocal reflection. Though it lacks the extra something to flirt with the passions, the song’s fresh enterprise and skilled structure only leaves satisfaction grinning.
A highly agreeable if safe offering comes next with Regrets, a song which does not venture too far from pop punk limits, unlike other songs on the album, but with vocals and rhythms especially finding essences of the distinct hues veining previous songs it unreservedly pleases before the urgently catchy Get Fast takes over to cast its own feet inciting contagion. Its rawer tone makes a tasty complement to the breezier breath of the previous song and sets up the aural theatre of final track Josh Lights A Fire perfectly, the closing song if not quite in sound definitely having that dramatic essence which Fall Out Boy embrace.
The song is a terrific end to an excellent encounter, a release which stands fully alone from the past adventures of This Legend’s personnel. Actually It’s In The Streets suggests that the band has the potential to eclipse their band’s previous endeavours, time will tell but more treats like this will go down nicely.
It’s In The Streets is available now via Cyber Tracks @ http://www.cyber-tracks.com/store/
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