Sound: This is the band of the new generation -- they met their manager through Purevolume and wrote the debut LP at their 17s. Being more concrete, A Change Of Pace started the band mostly to have something to do during the boring days in their hometown Peoria, Arizona; in 2004 they were found by Jorge Hernandez who quickly signed them to Immortal which resulted as a debut album with a perky title An Offer You Can't Refuse.
Prepare the Masses is their sophomore attempt to break the grounds, in which they supposedly should show the way they've mature since the debut. I would say they partly do it.
They admit to hate being refined to one genre. Listening to the album you understand what that means -- it seems like the band still didn't decide what they want to be -- hard screamo rock or punk-pop, balancing between the two. Obviously A Change Of Pace is at their best in harder rock songs, sounding more solid and matured.
The band tries to diverse the songs adding some unusual sounds, like marches in Prepare The Masses or the handclaps in Take Care. That's a neat way to give the songs more individuality, especially when it's relevant and fit the song's lyrics, but they don't always sound good on one record.
Some guitars quite obviously discover the influences -- like Thursday, Thrice, Finch and such. Guitarist Adam Rodgers tries to impress us by shooting out guitar passages with the incredible speed. The same can be said about other members of the band -- they try to showcase all their skills as being afraid nobody would ever hear how I play this particular chord. As a result they just overstuff tracks with solos and breaks. Among the crap there are a few nuggets though -- like a rock guitar solo at the end of White Lines And Lipstick. War In Your Bedroom has a great vibe and an attitude. It starts with a sound of a shower and has strong guitar hooks, showing a more mature side of the musicians. The bridges are still horrible though. The album closer is an acoustic almost tear-sharing ballad Safe And Sound In Phone Lines with a neurotic guitar.
Most tracks are pushed under a radio-friendly catchy format. The songs have hooky guitar chords and poppy catchy choruses easy to remember, nothing to keep in mind for a long time though. // 7
Lyrics: The members of the bands are barely 20 years old and you can feel that when it comes to lyrics. The juvenile optimism (This can't last forever/Raise your glass together), disappointment (She's got the blond hair, but not the blue eyes/I've got the right girl, but at the wrong time), romantic-influenced (I'm alive when I'm missing you). These youngsters still discover old as the world expressions like never say never, presenting them as something original and important.
Choral backvocals in Shoot From The Hip sound scary, more like something a bunch of drunk dudes can perform late hour in a pub celebrating their hometown baseball team has won the championship.
Vocalist Torry Jasper still has a lot to be worked on when it comes to his singning. The most important is he's got potential and there's actually something to be worked on. He tries to present every song in a different way, changing his voice depending on the lyrics. Jasper's at his best in War In Your Bedroom -- the vocals are intensive and strong. // 7
Overall Impression: Sometimes they find the right point and sound pretty good, but they do it instinctively and loose it right in the next track. Unfortunately A Change Of Pace still didn't find that something to stand out among other similar acts. It's obvious the band's got a lot of energy, but not enough experience yet. Predictable song structures, cheesy lyrics and sounds leave you without any wish to listen on after the third track.
While the songwriting is still at a pretty low level, A Change Of Pace learned very well how to compose one thing necessary for raising popularity -- sing-alone choruses. No matter if it is a hard-hitting rocker or a happy-clappy pop-punk, you'll find yourself singing to anything. They even recorded A Song The World Can Sing Outloud! Sad to say there's nothing memorable in Prepare the Masses, but it could be an average album to fill your time when there's nothing else to do. // 6
- Kosh (c) 2006