There’s a certain expectation that exists within the thought of what an LP should be. From the length (time and track wise) to the lyrical content and its underlying theme, while having the ability to make tracks standout singles and attempting to prevent a multitude of “filler” tracks, an album is undoubtedly much more difficult to create. With expectations assuredly much higher when it comes to a band’s debut full length, especially after the release of extremely successful EPs, the pressure a band feels has to be immense. Fans want the album to maintain the familiarity they’ve come to know and love, while the band likely wants to progress and try to new things that the confinements of an EP wouldn’t allow creating a fine line to traverse. With their debut album, In Our Bones, releasing to the world on May 20th, pop rock outfit Against The Current have traversed that line brilliantly, crafting a tighter, more refined and fluid sound that shows how much they’ve grown over the years while ultimately pleasing their fan base that helped them get to where they are now.
Immediately, you are hit with the aforementioned tighter and refined sound with the albums opener, “Running With The Wild Things”. This is one of the faster, more vibe-driven tracks that lives on In Our Bones and showcases Against The Current’s ability to create danceable tracks with soaring verses, sing-a-along choruses and frantic and rhythmic instrumentation. That same sound carries over to the next track, which has an even bigger sound and choruses. Delving into the middle of the album is where the softer and more refined pop driven stylings live with the ballad-esque “Chasing Ghosts”, the upbeat and undeniable party track “One More Weekend” that’s full of pop madness and the acoustic guitar driven, stripped back title track “In Our Bones” that has a message everyone can relate to. All of these stylings are nuanced further by the seamless transitioning from pop to alternative to rock which exacerbates the strong songwriting and careful detail to overall sound that lives on In Our Bones.
After giving the album a full run-through, there are two more notable sticking points. First, the core musicality that lives within the album are the principles that pop rock expounds on; bouncing basslines, rhythmic leads, and precise percussion intermixed with synths and soaring vocals. Against The Current doesn’t shy away from their genre and in fact accepts it, which helps them not stick to a formulaic sound that’s regurgitated over the course of the album. This leads to the second point that will stick with the listener – the ease the band has when it comes to flexing their musical sound. From the aforementioned pop rock anthems that will have you toe-tapping and head bobbing to a more alternative, and somewhat somber sound that changes a listeners’ perception of what Against The Current is capable of, there’s no shortage of versatility to be found. Coupled together with the innate ability to write meaningful songs that are portrayed in a relatable way to the listener without feeling forced or cheesy, this is an album not only for the band, but one truly for the fans.
While everyone (including the band) will ultimately have different criteria for what an LP should be, In Our Bones fits into this writers’ criterion extremely well. Harkening back to the opening of the review, the biggest points to look for are length, lyrical content and theme and standout singles without filler. Looking at length, there are a total of 12 track culminating in a total runtime of just over 40 minutes and doesn’t overextend its stay. From a theme perspective, this is an album about being young and free spirited which is sonically layered between infectious melodies made up of tight-knit percussion, guitar leads, dreamy synths and soaring vocals. With a plethora of already released singles, many of which have already become standout hits on their own, there’s a very small lack of filler to be found here. This makes the debut from Against The Current not only an exceptional album, but one that should be long lasting to tide fans over until the next release.