Sound — 8
If you think about it, besides djent, easycore is another arguably non existent sub genre. Where exactly did this loose term start? New Found Glory, Four Year Strong, Set Your Goals, A Day To Remember, etc were touring together, and it was called The Easycore Tour. My best guess on the definition of these play on words is pop-punk from easy and core you can already figure it out where that comes from. But what does this make bands like A Day To Remember? They were basically the first band to infuse the two genres together, so is there something else I'm missing aside from the genres? Well, much like djent I wouldn't label a band like The Contortionist as such. It's complicated though because they did have that djent influence during the heavy guitar moments on their first 2 albums. But what about Skyharbor? I don't hear any djent influences from them, but rather more of a heavy Cynic and Dream Theater influence, and yet they were on the list of the top 10 djent bands on this site. Djent seems to be more complicated to explain I guess, but it's clear that bands like Between The Buried And Me, and Protest The Hero don't follow that formula. So where does this leave us with easycore? Why is New Found Glory on a tour that has that word associated in the name? As far as I'm concerned, they're just pop-punk.
So I continue to wonder, maybe these mid to late 2000's bands Four Year Strong, Hit The Lights, and now Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! are influenced by these early 2000's pop-punk bands (Taking Back Sunday, New Found Glory), but I also argue that at least Chunk is influenced by other bands that aren't quite labeled as such. I argue that they're influenced by bands such as Simple Plan, Good Charlotte, and honestly I can hear some early Jimmy Eat World in there too. As for the core part, I feel like they came up with their own sound, and to me this is easy on the ears, much like the term easycore implies (heh, get it?). It does have that djent sound during breakdowns, but these guys are far from being labeled as such. But in the end, to be quite honest, they do play simple stuff, which is not a bad thing, but I can guarantee you if a proghead listens to this album, they will criticize it for sounding too "samesy." But as a fan of bands such as Animals As Leaders, Protest The Hero and such, this doesn't stop the fact that this album is fun to listen to, while it may not be breaking grounds, they have matured a ton since their debut album, and in my opinion, this is a step up from their last album, which had a few downfalls to make it a memorable album. The riffs, while not very complicated, really flow well, especially when you're met with some tasty breakdowns, catchy singing (Bertrand Poncet's accent has basically gone away) to uncleans. But I also have noticed how talented the bassist is, even if he doesn't stand out as much, while the drummer is almost following the formula. It's not a bad thing, but he is the last member that stands out very much.
Lyrics — 7
I had so much to say in the sound section that I have to talk about the sounds of some of these songs in this section instead. "Playing Dead" was the first song leaked, and it's a song that is a good choice because, while it is catchy, it's not a song many people will think is going to be their best song on the new album. And even if the lyrics aren't amazing, they still get the job done. "I won't waste anymore of this life losing direction, missing connections. One last time, I'm screaming out loud what's inside my head, I'm sick of you playing dead."
"The Other Line" is the next song that leaked a few weeks later, but with a cool music video. The lyrics didn't really impress me, but they're not bad. I'd mainly praise the sound of the song. It doesn't sound like anything else off the album. It's not your average Chunk song, but it still remains as one of those catchy songs, but with more of a dark and heavy atmosphere. I especially enjoy Bert's uncleans in this song, along with the tasty riffs, and the guitar solo (don't think I've heard a song from these guys with a solo). "City of Light" is one of those songs you can easily say is one of those anthems you can drive around in your car with the windows down, while this song is blasted. I mean, the lyrics on this song will surely brighten your mood:
"Not gonna miss those misconceptions
We don't need to live a fancy life
Tell them we ain't coming home tonight."
Set It Straight I argue to be the best track on this album instrumentally. Not only is the chorus catchy as hell, the guitar riffs are basically the highlight of this song, although I thought the drumming was pretty good. Nearly halfway through the song, the guitarist rips out a riff that has that "Life Is a Highway" by Tom Cochrane sort of sound to it. It's clearly a song that makes me feel at home where I am in Thailand for the next few months visiting family, and working. It just has that paradise feel to it. A minute later the whole band goes into the "whoa oh oh oh" moment, which really brings the track together, and makes it easily one of my favorites. If you're still not taken in 4 tracks in, then "Pull You Under" will most likely pull you in if you were patiently waiting for more heavy parts. But it's not just a heavy song. Bert cannot get away from these catchy choruses, and quite honestly, this song has him at his best. 2:09 is where Parker Cannon of The Story So Far should take notes from. Not to mention the drummer shines in this song during the buildup. It's clearly a song that would work well if performed at one of their shows. The next two tracks I didn't feel much from. "What Goes Around" has a catchy chorus, and has Bert sounding like Jordan Pundik from New Found Glory more than ever, but the song doesn't quite go far in my opinion. It might just be that the message has been said so many times. "Worst Case Scenario" is just repetitive. "Twist the Knife" brings the album back to life. It may not seem like it at first but please listen, especially that tasty breakdown at 2:11. Bert's uncleans sound so great too:
"Like shadow dreams, this routine's getting old
I'm losing grip of everyone, I just do what I'm told
When the curtain closes, all I am is me
That's my only way out of this tragedy."
But the title track is where this band shines the most, or at least the vocalist does. This song is something I would compare to one of New Found Glory's soft songs. The guitar parts are something else though, even as their acoustic song, it's one that could bring together even more fans, kind of like what A Day To Remember has done by equalling out acoustic, pop-punk, and metalcore songs on each album. It's a song you can play at a campfire with a few friends. It's also the best song on this album lyrically:
"I lost my way but I found myself
Hear the sound of open lands
I guess I belong somewhere else
Than where the ground cracks where I stand."
"Every Moment" is a great album closer. Especially since Bert shines once again with his singing at 1:22. This is definitely a comparison out of left field, but he seriously sounded like Matt Wentworth from Our Last Night right there. And the uncleans aren't out of the question in this song, so don't worry, bros. Just note, I seriously don't get how when you listen to this album, you only listen for the heavy parts. I literally saw at least a dozen people on their videos complaining. It's like sheesh, I listen to this shit like I listen to A Day To Remember. Don't expect a scream or breakdown every second of every song. That's called generic, and these people are the definition of brocore. I mean, I don't see Hit The Lights or Four Year Strong ever really using uncleans, so yeah. I think the main reason why I love the way these songs are set up is because I have grown to love Bert's singing even more than how much I love the uncleans. Another good example is me wanting to heard Tilian Pearson more over Jon Mess of Dance Gavin Dance. Overall, the lyrics on this album haven't changed up much, but it's far from "bad."
Overall Impression — 8
All in all, I think these guys have officially blown A Day To Remember out of the water. I mainly say this because looking at where ADTR exploded with "For Those Who Have Heart," they haven't really gone up much further in my opinion. "Homesick" seemed like a part two to that album, while having a few soft songs, but in the end I found them too cheesy, and the breakdowns, and uncleans were way too generic, and still are on their newer albums. They do a hell of a great job on their newer softer songs, and pop-punk songs, but I don't think they're as memorable as compared to what Chunk is doing. And plus the fact that I don't find Jeremy McKinnon a very good singer.
And like I said, Chunk isn't breaking any new grounds with this album, but instead they have continued to sound more mature album after album, but this is the album these guys needed to put themselves on the map. And who's to say you have to be breaking grounds? As far as I'm concerned, Hit The Lights didn't with their latest album, but in the end, the album turned out to have a number of catchy anthems, and riffs, and a whole new breath of fresh air after how they alienated a ton of fans with "Invicta." Chunk is seemingly only getting better, and one can say they will continue to go down that route. This album is not just a summer jam, but it's an album full of the band going out of their comfort zone. It's an album that makes me actually want to see them live after passing them up at Warped Tour last summer (mainly because I walked by and saw them playing their cover of "All Star"). Whether you're an active member on this site or not, I guarantee there's going to be someone posting something irrelevant like mentioning how Sonic The Hedgehog is in a band without even listening to the album or mention how stupid the band name is (yes, we all know it sounds like Captain Crunch). But you UGer's do your thing, I guess. I'll just sit, and laugh at the comments while this band is making great music.