Sound — 7
The Cab sound undoubtedly American. From the opening bang of One of Those Nights, it doesn't take long to find traces of dance and American funk pulsing through their infectious take on pop-rock. Actually, let me emphasize the pop in that last sentence. This Las Vegas bred quintet knows how to spool a tasty pop hook together and they do it all over their debut full-length, Whisper War. It's almost as though every single vocal line was sprinkled with sugar and some kind of fairy dust. And at the risk of getting lambasted in the comment section under this review, I will say that this isn't necessarily a bad thing! Vocalist, Alex Deleon is the kind of tunesmith that can quickly lead a young band into a long career. Ryan Tedder (One Republic) and Rob Thomas (Matchbox Twenty) are fine examples of how having a singer who can also write on his own, can be a godsend for a group. Deleon, while not on their aforementioned singer-songwriter's level yet, makes a good case for himself with winners like Bounce and Risky Business.
Lyrics — 8
With all the super-processed vocal takes flooding recent releases by bands like Spill Canvas and All Time Low, it's refreshing to hear a vocalist who sounds like he's actually had some formal training. Sure, there is some Pro-Tools twinkling on High Hopes In Velvet Ropes but it's used for effect and not to compensate for lack of power or talent. Deleon's style channels Patrick Stump (Fall Out Boy) and to an even closer degree, JC Chasez of N'Sync. Yes, yes, I just mentioned N'Sync in an Ultimate-Guitar review! It might sound like a disaster on paper but the marriage of the two worlds delivers impressive results and fits the The Cab's material beautifully. Stump even produced two tracks on the album and added some vocals. The band's lyrics don't really veer to far from the kinds of themes you would expect to find on a pop-rock record. So there aren't any real surprises there but with hooks this potent, you really don't miss them.
Overall Impression — 7
As you've probably already figured out by my review, I hold vocalist, Alex Deleon in high praise here. Without his vocal command and melodic sensibility, this would be a different band all-together. Don't get me wrong, the band's musicianship is definitely accomplished on these twelve tracks and guitarist Ian Crawford really shows a lot of promise laying down colorful figures throughout. But ultimately, this is Deleon's moment. Matt Squire (The Receiving End of Sirens, Boys Like Girls) produced ten of the twelve cuts and his attention to detail serves the songs perfectly. He never let's the individual performances or general histrionics get in the way of the actual songs underneath. Sure, the album lacks the kind of bottom end and earthiness that I would have liked to find here but the intention was probably to get the band on radio and in that regard, he probably did his job. The band is reportedly going to spend the next couple of years on the road supporting this album. Hopefully the live experience will help inform their next batch of songs and help take Deleon's fine pop impulses into an even wider direction.