Sound — 7
Started as a two man side project by Christian Rock band Thousand Foot Krutch's frontman Trevor McNevan and sticksman Steve Augustine, pop punk advocating FM Static are back with album number three, Dear Diary. Signed to trusty Christian Punk label Tooth & Nail Records, FM Static's Dear Diary is, according to McNevan, a concept record based on a boy (and occasionally a girl) and their diary entries. Although Trevor may be a little too old to still be writing about High School and first loves, it is somewhat comforting to know that he has stuck to his guns to write more of the same catchy-as-hell songs about growing up. And I'm sure that although most of his 'fans' may now probably be either in their late teens or mid 20s to 30s, listening to this record will be a somewhat nostalgic but warranted walk down ol' memory lane. The album kicks off at pace with the track 'Boy Moves To A New Town With Optimistic Outlook'. Complete with quick palm muted guitars, McNevan's trademark trigger-happy and fast-spewing lyrics, plus a soaring chorus which boasts of a somewhat rocked up High School Musical tune, the first track is classic-ly what you would come to expect of FM Static. Dotted around the record are other fresh, gem-tastic tunes such as fifth track 'Man Watcha Doin? ', 'The Voyager of Beliefs' which features Tricia Brock the frontwoman of Rock band Superchick, and the dazzling piano ballad 'Dear God'. All that being said, there are some very average pop punk tracks on the record which you will most likely want to skip straight to the choruses on.
Lyrics — 5
Lyrically the album is what you would expect from any pop punk record: average rhyme schemes with a slight tinge of emo cringe thrown in for good measure. Simple and novice seem to be the order of the day as McNevan sings She moves just like a rocket; shooting through the sky just to make you watch it; and fireworks go off whenever she comes my way on track 'Boy Meets Girl (And Vice Versa)', and And I've been thinkin' about; how I could scream it out loud; or paint a picture somehow; a thousand miles long.. on track 'Sometimes You Can Forget Who You Are'. That being said the singing and the tunes are catchy and worthwhile which, to be honest, is the main focus with Pop Punk. McNevan's voice is bang up to standard on Dear Diary. On tracks such as 'Dear God' he shows off his talented vocal range, switching almost instantly to and fro the high notes most suited to a choral scholar, or a pre pubescent 13 year old virgin, and on 'Her Fathers Song' he shows how he can adjust his vocals to suit the mood of an emotional ballad.
Overall Impression — 7
It is pretty clear from the get go that Dear Diary follows in the same vein as Critically Ashamed and What Are You Waiting For?. And because I doubt that there will be many first time, newbie FM Static listeners tuning in to Dear Diary, I assume that most old fans will, among other reasons, have wanted more of the same. Thus the fact that McNevan and Augustine have stayed true to their sound will see a pleasant sigh of relief from most listeners. Therefore, the main question is whether or not Dear Diary lives up to the sugary pop, foot stomping, happy go lucky, beach partying ambiance of the two previous FM Static albums. Well the answer to this is yes and no. With the first couple of listens, the album seems to be chock full of sing-a-long tunes so sugary you'd bet on your teeth disintegrating. However, after a couple more plays, you start to realise that the album is a little more 'emo' than the other two. There are darker songs on exhibition. Soul searching songs. Songs that lend themselves more to the finding of answers. All in all, the album is a little more serious. Ironically, although the album may be a return to youth in that it is a concept record following the details of a high school boy, it also seems to be the metamorphic album that signifies the maturing of FM Static. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing, who knows. But as long as the boys can churn out quality tracks such as 'Man Watcha Doin?' and 'The Shindig (Off To College)', then who really cares?