Sound — 8
A Day To Remember continues to mix what seems relatively unmixable genres on its fourth record What Separates Me From You. Pop punk's lighthearted, happy-go-lucky themes seem to clash with metalcore's aggressive moments, but the Florida quartet tackles each with ease. You won't hear any groundbreaking songwriting ideas on A Day To Remember's latest album, but it's certainly an interesting (and eclectic) approach to music. What Separates Me From You often leans heavier on the pop punk side in terms of quantity, but oddly enough it's the metalcore moments that are the most memorable. Produced by New Found Glory's Chad Gilbert (whose distinct influence does come through on plenty of tracks), the record kicks off with the best of both worlds in Sticks and Bricks. The death growls/clean vocals trade-off is heavily present throughout. The oft-mentioned pop-mosh most definitely comes through on this particular track with heavy gain used in the verses and the choruses transitioning into a more subtle, clean guitar tone. Elsewhere, A Day To Remember often opts for one style or the other, and usually that works to the band's benefit. It's Complicated is saturated in the pop punk sound, evoking memories of much of blink-182's material. One could also make the argument that frontman Jeremy McKinnon clean style often resembles Fall Out Boy's Patrick Stump in moments during the track This Is The House That Doubt Built. Other instances where catchy pop hooks are the name of the game with Better Off This Way and All Signs Point To Lauderdale. For as much pop punk that shows up on the record, it's actually 2nd Sucks and You Be Tails, I'll Be Sonic which favor straightforward metal aggression and breakdowns through and through that are the highlights. When the band isn't slowed down by the transition to clean vocals/clean guitar, there's a dramatic effect that works extremely well.
Lyrics — 8
The lyrical content should be relatable to a younger crowd, with themes ranging from anger at an unspecified individual to sticking to one's game plan regardless of the naysayers. If I Leave draws upon the latter topic with lines such as, I hate this town; Cause no one can understand; I just can't be tied down; Nothing comes between me and my plan. While another title, You Be Tails, I'll Be Sonic, shows promise of being slightly ironic, it does end up following the basic love-gone-wrong format.
Overall Impression — 9
A Day To Remember has enough happening on What Separates Me From You that it definitely holds your interest. This is not a case where every song sounds the same far from it, in fact. Even the majority of tracks that are pop punk veer in unique directions as far as the arrangements go. If you're a pop punk purist who doesn't have room for death vocals you'll want to steer clear, but A Day To Remember does prove they are masters at the pop mosh genre.