We’ve seen a lot of bands evolve in their discography in recent years, and it seems more and more, heavier bands are taking on the Pop side of things. But what happens when a band known for its Pop Rock tunes tries to diversify their sound?
Well, in the case of Set It Off, nothing.
Singer Cody Carson claims that their new record Midnight (Fearless) is a game changer for the band, but from what they have presented, it’s nothing that they have not released before.
It’s really hard to get into the first track ‘Killer In The Mirror’ with its wannabe haunting atmosphere. And when ‘Hourglass’ begins just seems like an extension of the first song. But what is really problematic with that song is the cheesy theatrical chorus.
By the third song ‘Lonely Dance’ it’s clear that this band is a one-trick pony. The track is interestingly reminiscent of The Script’s ‘Hall of Fame.’ The album got a little different with ‘Different Songs’ until the chorus hits and you think Harry Styles is going to pop up from the corner ready for a dance-off. ‘For You Forever’ showcases Maxx Danziger’s drum skills and that alone is worth noting.
Set it Off has always been vocally driven but now they are too overbearing. There are moments where Carson shines, like in ‘Go To Bed Angry’ featuring Wayfarers. Yet, he remains stagnant and not really showcasing anything that will awe listeners. At times he brings out this odd R&B swagger and in tracks like ‘Midnight Thoughts,’ it’s a little too close to mimic as the sixth member of O-Town.
The strings in ‘Criminal Minds’ give depth to the album but get drown in the overproduced, basic melody. The ‘80’s vibes in ‘No Disrespect’ are too real and the guitar is so groovy that if you can tune out the vocals it makes a great song for some jazzercise.
The songs that give some substance to this album feature someone, like the lighthearted ‘I Want You (Gone)’ featuring Matt Appleton from Reel Big Fish. The clarinet and sax on this one was a nice surprise but it’s a shame that is buried so deep in the record. The trumpet by Dan Clermont in ‘Happy All The Time’, featuring Issues’ Skyler Acord is a good addition.
What we have on Midnight is overtly poppy noise. It aims at theatrics but misses the mark at being innovative and the result is too repetitive. The orchestrations are less intriguing even with the musicianship that could have potential. Too many songs lack memorability and the ones that are, are full of clichés. This album is not a disappointment, but just the same Set It Off record we’ve heard before.
5 / 10