By: Rina Seegoolam
Marysville, Michigan quintet Every Avenue has been climbing up the music industry ladder since their 2008 album Shh. Just Go With It and their 2009 mainstream breakthrough Picture Perfect. After letting their sophomore album soak in for one year and a half, the band is now about to release the long-awaited follow-up Bad Habits.
Every Avenue usually plays catchy hooks with fun sing-alongs, making them immediately appealing to the pop-punk tag. The first track “Tie Me Down” continues this legacy: nothing is missing from the engaging alley of euphoric guitar riffs (courtesy of guitarists Joshua Withenshaw and Jimmie Deeghan,) to singer Dave Strauchman singing about a mischievous ex-girlfriend. On Bad Habits, the band keeps on writing down delightful revengeful stories about ex-lovers, but instead of directly attacking the girl, the lyrics focus on the poor, definitely unlucky and sometimes clueless guy who takes all of it right in the face: “Tie me down and fuck me up tonight / Rip my heart out / Hurt me good before you say goodbye” (“Tie Me Down”) or “Hit me where it hurts the most / Break me down to the bone / You wouldn’t be the first / It can’t get any worse” (“Hit Me Where It Hurts The Most”). Therapeutic or slightly masochist, I will let you choose.
The band gets a point in their favor for more deeply exploring their rock ‘n’ roll heart. The quintet stuffed some of their most summery pop-punk songs with distorted old school guitar sounds and roars like you’ve never heard them come out of Strauchman’s mouth. “Whatever Happened To You” showcases Strauchman’s vigorously deep howl and the opening guitar solo of “Only Place I Call Home” seems escaped from a hard rock ballad from the 80s. You’ve never heard these five musicians – including bassist Matt Black and drummer Dennis Wilson – as wild and excited as in “No One But You,” a furious song that gives the impression that their rock ‘n’ roll skills were locked up in a cage for way too long before being freed, resulting in the most explosive track of the record.
There are three ballads out of the ten songs on Bad Habits. With its gentle piano notes and Strauchman’s soft voice crooning about his love for a girl, “I Can’t Not Love You” is a classic Every Avenue ballad cut from the same cloth as “Between You And I” from Shh. Just Go With It. Others explore a new theme: all along the album, the singer deplores the torments of being constantly on the road. Relationships suffer as much as the disenchanted singer, whose words veer from “I used to dream of making it in this town / Now I’m dreaming of making it out” in “There Tonight” to “No more birthdays through the telephone / No more holidays spent alone / No more asking when I’m coming home / I’m sticking around” in the faster “Someday, Somehow”.
The lyrics in Bad Habits no longer refer to stories of good times with friends that punctuated Every Avenue’s previous records. It could have been fine if it didn’t cause a lack of dynamism and positivity, which is the only drawback of this album. When listening to an Every Avenue record, one expects to hear upbeat songs to listen to with the volume right up in the car or at an outside BBQ party. This is hard to find in this album precisely because of its nostalgic feel and melancholic lyrics. These lyrics do have their place on the record, but there are close to no songs to balance the feeling they create by making you smile the way “Where Were You?” from Shh., or “Tell me I’m a Wreck” from its follow-up did. “Tie Me Down” and “Hit Me Where It Hurts The Most” are the top contenders, but lack support.
With some infectiously peppered songs, Bad Habits will find its rightful place in your discography next to its predecessors. Yet, with only ten songs and thirty-four minutes, Every Avenue would have benefited from adding one to two tracks to treat us more to this recipe of happy-sounding music and amusingly cynical lyrics they handle so well.
Release Date: August 2, 2011
Record Label: Fearless Records
For Fans Of: Mayday Parade, The Cab, The Maine
Recommended Tracks: “Fall Apart” // “No One But You” // “Whatever Happened To You”
Official Website: http://www.everyavenue.net
Purchase: Hot Topic / iTunes / MerchNOW / Amazon /