Waltham have been favorites of mine since they burst onto the scene with their indie release Permission To Build a couple of years back.|
The rise to much deserved fame has been slow for these guys, but this release will surely see them gain that rightful national and international exposure.
The guys have signed to Ryko for an American and European release and one hopes the label will back them to the hilt. These tunes are just too good – they should be on radio playlists worldwide and the band's energetic and somewhat legendary live shows need to be taken to the masses!
Their new self titled album is basically a re-recording of the Permission To Build album, with some new tracks.
I remain an ardent supporter and fan of that album. Ryko obviously believed in it also - so strongly that they wanted to get those tunes out there – hence this re-recording.
There is good and bad about this release – firstly the songs are still utterly fabulous and this band has such a unique sound. They are as contemporary and as modern as they need to be in order to appeal to a wide demographic, including the all important teenage/youth market.
They are also as melodic and retro as you could get, with an uncanny knack for killer hooks, great melodies and feel good songs. And of course, it doesn't hurt that the singer sounds like Rick Springfield! This album is Working Class Dog for the new millennium – perfect power pop/rock.
The downside is that for fans of the debut, the sound recording here isn't too far removed from the original indie release and 8 of these 12 tracks are from Permission To Build – itself a re-recording of the band's first ever release The First Album. Move on already guys! We want more new tunes!
On this version there are a few altered arrangements and even more backing vocals in some places, plus a range of subtle changes that come from any re-recording and also from having played the tracks live so many times.
On the upside, fans do get 4 brand new tracks and local Boston area fans also get a new 5 track EP with the album, which is a very cool thing for the band to offer.
But for the majority – one hell of a cool album – with 4 brand new tracks as part of the mix. For a review of the original release – please read: Permission To Build.
The new tracks prove that the songs written for the debut were no fluke and these songs are every bit as instantly catchy and memorable and fit alongside the older tracks perfectly.
Joanne is another great anthem of unrequited love and is an uptempo power pop anthem with some tasteful harmony vocals.
Call Me Back is another example of why this album is Working Class Dog for a new generation – catchy rock music with great pop hooks.
You Gotta Let Me In is a little darker and moodier and at 3 minutes in length gets to the point straight away.
Be With Me is a new track, but sounds so familiar I could have sworn it was part of the last album! You can see why this fits into the mould of the older material and features a really strong chorus hook.
I just love this band's constant sonic bombardment thanks to a duel guitar attack.
Also included is the band's DVD Permission To Film, with a bunch of goofy backstage and on tour footage. Great for fans and an extra added value for this neat package.
Don't worry about songs, talk of an indie release, whatever…just rush to get this bloody great album of catchy, hook filled power pop/rock. A little bit of the 80s, wrapped up in modern rock format, but as melodic as it comes and dare I say it – a perfect example of mixing the old with the new and a great album to try and pull old-school fans into the present. I still prefer the original Permission To Build, release - but just by an edge.
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