In the midst of a plethora of rock releases, Andrew Nolan talks through A Day to Remember’s latest offering, You’re Welcome
Oftentimes, fanbases tend to split into two sides; those that embrace the change and are a little more open to hearing new things, and those steadfast in the sound that made them fall in love with the music in the first place. There is no real right way of doing this – Bring me the Horizon have arguably only begun to reach their peak with their latest releases, but then you have AC/DC kicking about for decades with the same two-song formula. The only true guideline is that whatever you do, do it well, yeah?
As much as it breaks my heart to say, I can’t confidently say that A Day to Remember have achieved this with their latest release You’re Welcome. I would usually find myself on the side of the division that welcomes change where it works. And therein lies the main issue of this record – it doesn’t really work. It doesn’t take much time at all for issues to arise. The first three tracks sum up my grievances with the album pretty well. For the first track, you have ‘Brick Wall’, which is a little softer in its introduction. It is reminiscent of Matt Skiba-era Blink 182, which could definitely work well. Until, that is, the break of the chorus hits and the sound switches entirely back to their original, heavier sound. 'Brick Wall' follows this formula throughout, and while it isn’t bad at all, I have no idea how you would even go about categorising it. Any tonal expectation coming from this track shifts entirely with ‘Mindreader’, which embraces a modern take on some of pop-punk’s most recognisable tropes, minus A Day to Remember’s heavy touch. Following this you have ‘Bloodsucker’, which drastically switches the formula again – this time a lot more pop-esque with a distinctly modern Fall Out Boy sound.
When each track is this jarring when compared to the last, it’s hard to nail down any sort of cohesion.
Change is welcome, of course, but when each track is this jarring when compared to the last, it’s hard to nail down any sort of cohesion. This is only accentuated by the inclusion of tracks like ‘Degenerates’ and ‘A last chance to dance’, which sound like they were pulled straight from their earlier releases. As I continued throughout the rest of the album’s runtime it became clear to me exactly what was wrong with it – the album is one big identity crisis.
Some bands do more than succeed in attempting this switch – metalcore outfit Architects just saw their first UK number 1 with their vastly different For Those That Wish to Exist. The key difference is that this record has a clear identity. It still plays around with the old and the new, but the overall picture is a clear one. It then only becomes a question of quality. You’re Welcome isn’t a bad album. Jeremy McKinnon’s vocal work is still impressive, and the tracks aren’t necessarily poor, but the lack of identity is detrimental to its overall presentation. I wouldn’t recommend continuous relistens, but you might find the odd addition to a playlist.