Sound — 8
The "heaviest pop punk band" returns with their third full length, featuring their pop punk sound that adds screams, growls, and breakdowns. With this notable release, ADTR is a band to watch this year. A Day To Remember has been around for a little more than 5 years now, playing show after show to make a name for themselves, the typical story of most bands out there these days. "What makes ADTR different from those bands"" is probably the first question that comes to someone"s mind. ADTR has boasted on various merch that they are the heaviest pop punk band, which can be backed up by their music. The band"s sound, for those who aren"t familiar with them, features the pop punk-like vocals of Jeremy McKinnon with a pop punk sound. The main difference from most pop punk bands is that they throw in post-hardcore screams and breakdowns to their songs. With the release of "Homesick," the band"s sound has not changed much from past releases, but ADTR defiantly has established more variety in their songs. The album opens with "The Downfall Of Us All," an anthem of sorts that showcases their pop punk-like sound. The song opens with group vocals that mimic the guitar riff that follows the vocals. While cheesy, it shows off the band"s humorous side to their music. The song features a short amount of screaming with a not so heavy breakdown, but it really appeals to any fan of pop punk music in general. Right after the opener, "My Life For Hire" starts up with a moving guitar line that is backed by power chords and leads into a short riff that backs McKinnon"s vocals. The song continues on like this until the drums start leading up to the breakdown where McKinnon screams "This is a battleground!" and is followed by the heavy breakdown. The song then continues on like it was before the chaotic breakdown. The next track, "I"m Made Of Wax Larry, What Are You Made Of"", features gang vocals, a fast tempo, and a melodic chorus. The breakdown has a very cool transition before it where gang vocals make a rising pitch "Ohhhhh" to a brief silence where you can hear someone clearing their throat leading to duel screaming between McKinnon and The Devil Wears Prada"s Mike Hranica. The duel screaming breakdown is actually pretty awesome. The next song, "NJ Legion Iced Tea," is a melodic pop-punk song that is one of the stronger tracks on the album. The vocals and guitar riffs really balance out, and it"s just a great song overall. Another favorite, "Mr. Highway"s Thinking About The End," is a pretty heavy track. The song consists of mostly screams and heavy guitar riffs, not to mention a super heavy breakdown (for this band at least). The track really showcases the band"s ability to play some heavy music, seeing that they tour with some bands that are considered heavier than they are (I.e. The Acacia Strain, Suicide Silence). "Have Faith In Me" is another track that really shows the band"s light pop punk side. McKinnon"s vocals are one of the highlights of the track as he really shows that he is a good singer. "Welcome To The Family" is sure to become a favorite of the fans of heavier music, as it features Vincent Bennett of The Acacia Strain during the breakdown. It is also another one of those heavy tracks that the band hasn"t really been showing off on previous releases. "You Already Know What You Are" is a great metal track. You might mistake it for something from The Acacia Strain in the beginning of the track. The track, only about a minute and a half long, really shows the band"s heavy side, along with a darker pop punk chorus. "Another Song About The Weekend" is a cheesy pop punk song that seems like filler. It is one of the few songs on this album that I just didn"t care for. The album ends strongly with the pop punk ballad "If It Means A Lot To You." The song starts with acoustic guitars and McKinnon"s soft vocals, soon to be joined by VersaEmerge"s Sierra Kusterbeck. Kusterbeck"s vocals add a pleasant touch to the track that really shows emotion and meaning. The song adds drums and builds up to gang vocals that show that ADTR can truly end an album with a bang. Overall, the band showcases a wide variety of sounds on this album, but their sound is definitely what defines them from other bands out there.
Lyrics — 9
McKinnon is both a great vocalist and great screamer in every track on the album. Some stand out moments for vocals are showcased in "Have Faith In Me" and "If It Means A Lot To You." His screaming is really showcased in "Mr. Highway"s Thinking About The End" and "Welcome To The Family." McKinnon is a promising vocalist for the band, and without him, their sound might fall apart. "Homesick" has some pretty basic lyrics, but their simplicity isn"t a downside at all. Most of the songs focus on being on the road and coming back home. Some of my favorite lyrics come from "If It Means A Lot To You": "Tell me something sweet to get me by, 'Cause I can't come back home till they're singing La, la la la, la la la, Till everyone is singing" Overall, the vocals and lyrics combine to be one of the album"s strong points.
Overall Impression — 9
Impression: A Day To Remember has been working for five years now as a band with constant touring to get their name out there, "Homesick" is defiantly a chronicle of this "journey" that they have been embarking on. If you haven"t been on the ADTR bandwagon yet, hop on now. This album is defiantly a pinnacle for the band, as they continue on their touring. Everyone should be keeping an eye on this band over the next year or two. They should definitely be going somewhere in the near future.