Sound — 8
Tales Don't Tell Themselves being a concept album can make or break a band. The overall sound of the album is a quite sharp departure from FFAF's early recordings such as Four Ways to Scream Your Name (U.S. release as Seven Ways to Scream Your Name), Casually Dressed and Deep in Conversation, and seem to search for a medium between simple catchy sound and complex hard and fast riffs. The album of itself gives the feel of a redone Hours. But to sum up the sound of TDTT to me would most accurately be an album filled with a lot of filler.
Lyrics — 8
FFAF deserve some credit with the lyrics considering it is a concept album, with the apparent concept of someone lost at sea going through the throws of his mind before he dies in the sea. But in typical ffaf fashion, the lyrics are mostly repeated throughout the song, but much more so in this album and the lyrics are cookie-cut to fit the genre they are trying to look for. For example, in Out Of Reach 4 lines make up nearly the entire song, which after a minute or so becomes annoying and makes the temptation to switch songs an itch that can't not be scratched. Even though the lyrics could have more depth to them, Davies is finally beginning to find a range of vocals in which he doesn't rely on his backing vocals to complement his voice (I.e Casually Dressed). In prior albums in which the hard screaming was most prevalent and the old fanbase of ffaf still reside, most of the screaming was done by backing vocals instead of Davies. Overall Davies is beginning to use his voice and lead the vocals instead of hide behind the guitar riffs and drums, something not seen too often.
Overall Impression — 8
Tales Don't Tell Themselves seem to be a reincarnate of Hours, and the 2000's version of the Offsprings "Smash" album, in that it's a quite detailed push towards mainstream marketing, and also being an Atlantic Records release, the record was expected to be very mainstream oriented with a detailed production, unlike the very harsh (sound-wise) productions of Casually Dressed and Seven Ways to Scream Your Name, which coupled with the bands vocals gained their initial notoriety. Unfortunately, if you're an fan of the hardcore ffaf then the album may touch your fancy depending on your other band preferences but, the album is a quick listen as you don't notice anything whilst listening to it. That said Tales don't Tell Themselves may take awhile to grow on people, but FFAF has grown out of their roots, and are in search of a new sound, which they have yet to settle on.