Sound — 10
I think the sound of this album is fairly solid. I've only heard this album and other albums after this so I can only comment within that context. It ranges from indie/alternative vibes to harder sounds in a cohesive way. The guitars lock tightly with the music and and carry clear rhythm and lead roles. The guitar tones vary from crunchy but not overly saturated tones that are bright yet chunky all the way over to smooth cleans. The sound of this album strays from the generic power chord and octave approach I feel. The reason being there is actually some real riffs and leads going on and an actual solo. Certain licks seem to jump out through the spaces and I think that was the intended purpose. The drums and bass are fairly standard fair but offer a solid performance albeit never straying far from the basic pocket. Overall, it's a solid album with good songs and good playing. I think that's an endeavor we can all relate to.
Lyrics — 8
The lyrics could be viewed as sappy or emo to some people, but they are honest lyrics. There is authenticity in them that separates them from typical pop/rock and emo fair. They speak mostly about guy/girl relationships and the like. They are mostly positive lyrics thought are just speaking about life in general. There is some Christian themes and morals presented in some of the lyrics (speaking against cheating and lust, allusions to prayer, etc.), due to some Christian influence, although they aren't a Christian band. I find Stephen's voice to be pleasant and appropriate for the music. He has more tone and expression in his voice than others of his ilk, able to sing high without sounding whiny. He even lets out some unexpected screams which are effective.
Overall Impression — 9
It seems to be a fairly unique album, borrowing stylistic elements from pop, rock, indie, alternative, and a bit of punk/pop. I can't really compare them to a specific artist as they take a familiar style and turn it into something all their own. I particularly like the opening track, as well as Paperthin Hymn, The Feel Good Drag, and the closing track. They are all worth listening to though. The only I actually dislike is the fairly standard drum and bass performance. Other than that I really enjoyed this album and think it's excellent. I actually have lost it and plan to get it again.