Australian based 5-piece Tonight Alive have made an emphatic return with their new album The Other Side, the follow up to 2011’s debut What Are You So Scared Of?
Formed in 2008 when vocalist Jenna McDougall was just 16 years old, the young band have already accomplished a lot in the half a decade they’ve been around for. The Sydney pop-punk quintet can already boast International success including numerous festivals and headlining tours as well as scoring an appearance from blink-182’s Mark Hoppus on a track on their debut album (Thank You & Good Night).
Their new album more than lives up to the expectations set for it, showing a more mature, rock-based sound and more confidence than they displayed on What Are You So Scared Of? Described by McDougall as having “balls and bite”, The Other Side is packed with energy through its 12-track duration. The entire record is very personal both lyrically and musically as McDougall delivers each song with passion and emotion against a talented instrumental backdrop.
The record shows off the significant vocal range of Jenna McDougall as she darts between low and high pitches, maintaining total control as she does so. The album is made up of heavy, rock aspects (The Ocean, Lonely Girl, No Different), more reserved moments (Come Home, Say Please) and vulnerable honesty (Hell and Back, You Don’t Owe Me Anything).
Starting out strong with the first single The Ocean, it’s clear the band have taken on a darker approach for the new album, showing off powerful vocals from McDougall which work well against strong rock & roll guitar riffs.
The album blends seamlessly into the next track Don’t Wish, another strong and emotional song full of honesty in its lyrics and delivery (“I won’t be the one you call/When everyone is gone/ And when you treat her wrong/Don’t wish that she was me”).
Another single follows and is one of the more aggressive tracks on the record. A punchy chorus evens out mid-tempo, attention grabbing verses on Lonely Girl. This is one of the must-hear songs from the album, showing a darker side to the band as they show no sympathy for whoever the song was written about (“I don’t feel sorry for you/Sorry for you/Cause now the tables turning/Another bridge is burning/It’s coming crashing down/Crashing down over you”).
Title track The Other Side is another notable track, a slower, acoustic sounding number. Singing about an old High School flame, the song has a nostalgic feel to it, especially during the soft verses. At times the song sounds a little immature (“Do you think of me at night?/I still wish we could have made it right”), but is overall well written and cute-sounding.
Towards the end of the album is Bathwater, a beautifully expressive song which weaves effortlessly between softly sung verses and a strong chorus. The verses are accompanied by soft instrumentals which lift with the chorus to produce a well-balanced track which could have also worked as a lead single to give listeners a taste of The Other Side.
The Other Side is a striking collection from Tonight Alive, showing versatility and maturity beyond their years. The album offers something for everyone, all highlights and no low-lights, and should be a welcome addition to anyone’s record collection.
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