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Album Review: Prides – The Way Back Up

2 min read

2014 was a busy year for Prides. With the release of their EP The Seeds You Sow, the slew of singles that came after it and a performance at the closing ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games, there’s been a lot of excitement leading up to their debut album. Now that The Way Back Up is out, it does provide a solid starting point for Prides, but it also has its share of problems.

Prides The Way Back UpTheir music is very reminiscent to the synthpop style of CHVRCHES, with songs often consisting of lighter verses leading into explosive choruses, made for performing in large venues. It provides a fitting accompaniment for vocalist Stewart Brock’s singing style, with him often raising his voice to attempt to overcome the wave of sound that comes with the chorus. It’s but one of a few patterns that The Way Back Up follows throughout.

With the vocal performances retaining the similar performance style throughout added on top of similar structures in many songs, it makes for a level of consistency that can get tiring. Songs start to blend together, often lacking a defining feature that makes it stand out from its surrounding tracks. Despite its 42 minute run time, it can feel longer when listened to in its entirety.

On the brighter side, none of the songs are actually bad. Even better, there are enough standout songs to ease the pain. I Should Know You Better opens the album on a high note with its stadium-ready production, leaving a lasting impression even through other similar songs. Same Mistakes and The Kite String and the Anchor Rope show that they can do slower songs, stripping the bombastic style down and keeping it natural. The album’s title track shows off some better production skills as well, making use of less filler to allow the little melodies throughout the song to take precedence. There’s something under the layers of sound, and their simpler songs are proof of this.

There’s some good and bad to The Way Back Up. It definitely suffers from sticking to one note too much, but it also shows some brief glimpses of diversity that make up for it. While it’s good that Prides has their own identity when it comes to their sound, what would benefit them most is breaking away from it just enough to give their songs their own personalities, which would enhance the listening process. But when it comes to improving upon this album for a second, they’ve certainly got a decent starting point to work from.