Sound: Charleston's The Working Title is a beautiful work in progress. The five-year-old band shows a great deal of promise, with songs that relay intimacy and a restrained approach to musical arrangement usually not heard by such young musicians. On the major-label debut About-Face, while the quartet offers up truly inspired moments, there are still times when the some of the tracks' melodies don't live up to the lyrics.
The band's takes a minimalist approach to songwriting, with instruments acting as more of a subtle adornment to the songs. As a result, the bare bones of the tracks come through -- for good or bad. Guitarist Adam Pavao deserves plenty of credit for the subtle guitar lines he added here and there to accentuate the songs' strengths. Melodically speaking, Pavao's restrained guitar made for one of the most interesting aspects of the album.
A highlight of About-Face is the song Glorious, which features an Edge-like guitar line that runs throughout much of the song. But on top of the intriguing and U2-sounding instrumental backing, vocalist Hamilton offers up the most infectious chorus of the entire record. Glorious is the complete package, and it does prove that vocalist Joel Hamilton, guitarist Pavao, bassist Chris Ginn, and drummer Ross Taylor have a lot to offer.
Hamilton adds a falsetto touch to multiple tracks, which allows the songs to travel in unique directions that many bands don't usually go. In Blind, Hamilton uses his trademark falsetto as an element in both the verse and the chorus, without it ever getting to be too much. This vocal style is used multiple times on About-Face and works in the band's favor.
While The Working Title's sound will appeal to plenty of radio listeners and does have it's impressive moments, About-Face does not deliver the whole way through. Something She Said is a bit repetitive and seems to be a song that was written more for the lyrics than the melody. The words make a huge impression and are quite haunting, which may just be enough for listeners. There Is None suffers from the same problem, with it's emotional lyrics highlighted by a basic, and often times dull, melody. // 8
Lyrics: Frontman Joel Hamilton's lyrics are both impressive and emotionally moving, using interesting literary styles to relay his messages. In The Mary Getaway (I Lost Everything), Hamilton takes time to vividly elaborate on the scenes that occur in the song. He sings, In broken English, she says, 'I lost everything to one boy who said he was mine, said he'd hold me forever;' She's sitting on my floor and pulling out her hair to ease. Hamilton provides much more description than your average radio tune, and therein is the main reason why this band deserves a listen.
Likewise, There Is None tells another detailed tale, this time about lost love. We would've drove down over the bridge and towards the sea; Parking the sad car in between twenty-fourth and fifth: I want to write a song about our love but there is none. The words may be too sad or sentimental for straightforward rock fans, but the honesty will undoubtedly strike a chord with many that have experienced the same sense of loss. // 9
Overall Impression: Plenty will be enamored by The Working Title's pensive and thought-provoking lyrical style. The young band should definitely be recognized for it's ability to create novel lyrics -- an aspect that tends to get ignored at times.
When the band's melodies are highlighted by brief, yet edgy guitar lines, About-Face is at it's best. These little moments make you want to take another listen and discover what other little instrumental gems you might have missed the first go-round. But there are songs that leave you wanting more, particularly when you know what the band is capable of creating. If they can work out the flaws, the boys in The Working Title may just find themselves as both critics' darlings and the objects of music lovers' adoration. // 8