...but without losing what makes them who they are. This a great collection of songs, although it does take a few listens to truly appreciate all of them. Each one seems to have had a lot of time and thought put into it by the band, both lyrically and musically. Williams' vocals have improved even more so, as have the guitars and drums, these being much more complicated and technically challenging. Song by song, this is how I feel about it:
1. Careful (10/10)
This song is a quite heavy start to the album, being much more rock than pop, with great guitars and a catchy melody. The vocals are really good and you'll find yourself singing along.
2. Ignorance (9/10)
The first single off the album, this is a very good song with excellent guitars and drums, although, like the whole album, it takes a few listens to grow on you. Soon you wont be able to get lines such as "Ignorance is your new best friend" out of your head.
3. Playing God (9/10)
A much more subdued affair, but still quite angry in places, especially the lyrics, "Next time you point a finger I might have to bend it back or break it, break it off!" The call and response bit where guitarist Josh sings too is particularly good, it's nice to hear his voice more on the record.
4. Brick By Boring Brick (8/10)
This is another grower, but once you've heard it a few times you'll be hooked! The "Ba-da-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-da!" bits are especially catchy, with the whole band joining in the vocals at the end. The bass is really good in this track, as is the drumming, which gets quite intense towards the end!
5. Turn It Off (8/10)
A lovely song, with Hayley giving it her all, lyrically and vocally. Again, it takes a few listens, but it will get to you, especially the outro, which I'm sure will be even better live.
6. The Only Exception (10/10)
Well, it might seem sugary sweet to some, but I love this song, even though it's slow and quite poppy. The acoustic quitar and Hayley's subdued vocals are lovely, plus the tune itself really catchy, so it was one of the songs that grabbed me straight away.
7. Feeling Sorry (7/10)
Probably my least favourite song on the album, but it's still pretty good after hearing it a few times, with some nice quitars and drums.
8. Looking Up (8/10)
A very triumphant song from the band about having made it, with a catchy chorus but slightly cheesy and obvious lyrics such as "I can't believe we almost hung it up, we're just getting started". That aside though, it's still very enjoyable and I imagine that it'll be very good live, with the crowd singing along to the infectious "whoa-o-o-o" parts.
9. Where the Lines Overlap (10/10)
A very poppy song, but brilliant all the same, one of my favourites from the album! It's just so catchy, from the very first listen, with the blending of Josh and Hayley's vocals working very well; again, it's nice to hear him sing more. The lyrics and music are simple, but fun and cute, making you want to dance and sing along...well, I wanted to anyway. If this song doesn't make you happy, then there's something wrong with you...or you just don't like it, but whatever.
10. Misguied Ghosts (9/10)
Now, this took several listens for me, but it's in my head now. It's a very different offering from the band, being entirely acoustic but with just a hint of drums. Hayley's voice is softer and much calmer, making her sound vulnerable almost, which fits the song very well. It's quite beautiful really, although it may take a while to truly appreciate it.
11. All I Wanted (10/10)
This gets a 10 for Hayley's vocals alone, but the music is very good too, making this is a spectacular, but not over the top, finish to the album. You'll never have heard Hayley sing so well as she does on this when all the instruments stop for a moment and she cries, "All I wanted was youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!" It's amazing, especially on the first listen. The chugging guitars also add a lot to the song, even though it is quite repetitive lyrically, though not in bad way.
Summary: It's fantastic after listening a few times, so if you're not keen straight away then give it more of a chance as it will grip you!