Infamous vocalist Ronnie Radke is renowned for over-introspection when it comes to his music. His band’s direction on previous album Just Like You, was a throwback to his Escape The Fate days as he felt people were yearning for that nostalgia trip. Having gotten that out of the system, fourth album Coming Home (Epitaph) was about finding and defining a style, and staying focused to a conceptual thread throughout the music. And there’s something very interesting going on in the Falling In Reverse camp this time around.
Eschewing the normal approach of coming out of the traps with a metalcore rager of a first song, instead we’re treated to a reflective and oh-so-well-crafted title track that doesn’t just tease a new sound, but unveil it in full glory. This is followed by the expansive, lush, textured warmth of the excellent ‘Broken’.
So, Coming Home has ditched the metal, the screams and the breakdowns and doing so has helped FiR to refocus themselves, though Christian Thompson still brings plenty of scorching lead guitar hero moments, fair play. With the opening pairing shifting the goal posts, ‘Loser’ moves things back to more familiar rock territory of ‘The Drug In You Is Me’ type single, but retains a more realised and filled position, drifting out to include strings and swirls.
The sumptuous production of Michael “Elvis” Baskette helps, but it’s Radke’s knack of writing mansion-sized pre-choruses and stadium-sized choruses, like the simply enormous ‘Fuck You And All Your Friends’, that is the focal point of the album: you are never more than a couple of minutes away from a “Woah-oh-oh”, and it’s a gloriously positive album for it.
Keeping a self-centred, emo and immature middle-finger core to some of the lyrics stops this from being a fully “mature” album, but the song-writing is fertile and sweeping, with the additions to the sound perhaps owing something to 30 Seconds To Mars’ electronica tinges on the reflective and shimmering ‘The Departure’, while ‘I’m Bad At Life’ is a paean in true My Chemical Romance style and ‘Superhero’ an energetic earworm.
Coming Home is slick, honest (‘I Don’t Mind’ cuts to the bone; epic, emotional and vast) and catchy, yet is also by far their most expansive and consistent album to date. The concentration on production elements, the electronica and synths dancing in and out of ‘Straight To Hell’ that elevate and fill the song, is a smart move. But the smartest move of all was absorbing themselves in writing a unified selection of top quality modern rock songs.
Fuck, FiR have just gone and found themselves again. And it suits them.