Sound — 8
If you try to search for the band Until June on the net, Google would find you all kinds of stuff, but something you actually need. What seems like a stupid and very inconvenient name at first turns out to have an explanation and history behind (which still doesn't add to it's convenience...) Being originally from Phoenix, this threesome chose to change a quite life with their families for a chance to make it as a band in L.A. To fasten things up, Josh Ballard (singer/pianist), Dan Ballard (guitarist) and Daniel Dempsey (drummer) set a deadline for themselves -- June 2006 -- if they don't sign a deal up to that date, they come back home and forget all the ambitions. And apparently they did archive the target as we have a proof -- Until June self-titled debut release on Flicker Sony/BMG. The album is not out until March 2007, but the guys are already creating a buzz around their name with a 3-song EP as a help. The success of the trio was predicted by music like Keane and Coldplay as those two would be the closest influences of Until June. The band claims their debut album represents the experience of struggling through the fears no matter what. That is evident through the songs -- they are melancholy by nature, but have so much passion and bare emotions that sound very powerful. There's a commercial side of the project - pop tunes to make the songs catchy. It doesn't make them worse, letting you to sing alone through the entire album. All I Have is the most upbeat songs with steady drums and busy guitars, which gives it a U2 feel. The best part of the album comes at the end. Being the backbone of the whole record and filling the songs with warm and soft sounds, Josh Ballard's wonderful piano playing really shines here. Two last tracks This City and You Do though sounding a bit alike, are gentle lullabies. The closer You Do is very nostalgic featuring the sounds of seagulls and leaving you in a thoughtful mood. A lot of songs start timid and tell you the story first just to evolve and to get to the crescendo peak after the second verse. The album is full of wide choruses, echoed vocals and pounding drums. It's Dan Ballard's love to different guitar effects that divers the songs, giving each a unique mood.
Lyrics — 7
The songs are written on the most traditional subject -- love and relationship. And as it turns out, not about very happy cases. Heartache, being broke and loosing the loved one is what influenced Until June to write the songs for the album. But it's more a call for help than pessimistic emo whining. Josh Ballard's voice matches the lyrics wonderfully, being a bit phlegmatic with notes of desperation at times. His tenor and the ability to sing strong and mild falsetto gives the band a big advantage among the colleagues. The lyrics are the band's weak point as they sound primitive along with the power of the music. The choruses are too repetitive and predictable, some lines are a bit obvious. The lyrics like After all I've said and done/You pick me up from where I'm from would sound cool, even brilliant in a punk rock song, but from the band of this level you would expect something more impressive.
Overall Impression — 8
Living in the L.A. the guys forced themselves to be alone with just their music and it seems like they knew what they were doing. The final product appears to be pure and honest. With the help of the producer Brian Garcia Until June made the album solid with the songs mildly flowing one into another without any sharp switches. This debut record does even more than it is usually expected from the first attempt. It not just makes you interested, it actually leaves you wanting more. After having listened to all 10 tracks, suddenly you realize it's the end of the album. All you have left to do it press Play button again.