Sound: Signing to a record label is a cherished achievement for artists and in this case, jumping onto the Rise Records rollercoaster is a big deal for PMtoday. The Arkansas progressive rock quartet have unveiled In Medias Res, their label debut for a company they share with groups like The Bled and The Devil Wears Prada. Straying slightly from the hardcore realm, PMtoday can be seen as a new day in a world of Vans Warped Tour fans as their sound isn't structured from pop punk riffs. Guitarists Connor and Cuin Brogan shred their way across the disc's ten tracks, transforming indie rock melodies into post-hardcore breakdowns with a hint of pop.
The combination seems unrealistic and fake, but the outcome is almost breathtaking. Numerous bands have swayed from progressive rock set in stone by bands such as Coheed And Cambria and PMtoday rejuvenate it without undertones that are incredibly dark. Don't Exist starts like an indie pop track and turns into a constant battle of melodic riffs. Such unexpected turns are littered throughout the record, along with intense jam sessions reminiscent of The Mars Volta, leaving listeners hanging on to every moment the band conjures a breakdown. // 8
Lyrics: Progressive rock demands a voice that's unique and powerful in tone and the vocals on In Medias Res don't disappoint. Influenced by bands like Circa Survive and Brand New, PMtoday's high-pitch croons support tracks like Composing A Commercial Product and People Are Machines nicely, but don't entirely flatter the sound the four members are emitting as one. They do power Sad World, kicking things into a different gear, but the fierce sound barely hangs by a string throughout the album. It does get support from the impressive songwriting as PMtoday shows its just not an ordinary band signed to a well-recognized label. Songs like I Am Wrong revolve around adolescent themes with lines like Am I wrong to assume every woman is just like you? / You fall in love so you can wear a dress, but there are several that are darker and artistic in a sense, as they speak of common subjects artists in other genres tell with simple lyrics. // 7
Overall Impression: It doesn't have a polished force behind it like albums from Coheed And Cambria and Circa Survive, but the sophomore full-length from PMtoday does reek of potential. Instead of blatantly talking about girls and trying to make every line rhyme, the band questions listeners with interesting lyrics and a sound that could seem nostalgic even though it was popular less than five years ago. A positive step forward from past material, In Medias Res is a record built around new talent and a sign that progressive rock is indeed still alive. // 7
- Joshua Khan (c) 2010