Smash Magazine Album Reviews

November/December Album Reviews

Check out my album reviews for issue 103 of Smash Magazine, including the Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Movements, PVRIS, and Touché Amoré.

The Red Jumpsuit ApparatusThe Emergency EP Album Review

If your only knowledge of The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus is their radio hit “Face Down” from their 2006 debut album, now would be a good time to get reacquainted. Each track on their new EP slaps, and at six songs, The Emergency EP could have made a killer full-length if they’d just added about four more songs. While “Brace Yourself” is a powerful opener and “A Long Time Ago in a Galaxy Called LA” and “Don’t Buy Into It” sound like essential Red Jumpsuit, it is the EP’s last three tracks that hit the hardest and leave you wanting more. Heavier than the other three songs, “Is This the Real World?”, “Stuck on Repeat,” and “Please Unfriend Me” beg to be loudly played repeatedly. The only ding against this EP is the occasionally corny lyric on “Don’t Buy Into It” as they comment on the state of our country—even if what they say holds some truth. Overall, this EP may just reignite your interest in the band and leave you anxious for more. 

MovementsNo Good Left to Give Album Review

There is no dreaded sophomore slump here for post-hardcore band Movements. Their second full-length, No Good Left to Give, is nothing short of perfection. (Think Brand New’s The Devil and God Are Raging Inside of Me.) Dark and twisted, soft and somber, elegantly guttural when it needs to be, No Good digs deep into the emotional belly of relationships, mental health, love, and loss. It’s difficult to rank the twelve tracks to pick the standouts as they all offer something equally wonderful, but if you want something more intense, go with “Tunnel Vision.” If you want something on the more somber side, go with title track “No Good Left to Give.” And if you want something that mixes the two, try opener “In My Blood.” This is second wave emo at its best. Kudos to the Southern California quartet on nailing this one. I’m sure at least musically, they still have some good left to give us after this.

PVRISUse Me Album Review

After two release delays, Use Me, the third full-length album from PVRIS, is finally out. A continuation of their synth laced EP Hallucinations that was released in late 2019, Use Me solidifies the band’s pop-rock evolution that landed them an opening spot along with Blackbear on the now delayed Halsey Maniac Tour. A mix of dreamy electro-pop and rock-infused riffs, albeit less heavy on the rock side than their past two albums, Use Me marks the first full-length for PVRIS on major label Reprise/Warner Records. Tracks like “Dead Weight” and “Death of Me” will make you want to have a seductive and slightly sinister dance party, while “Old Wounds” will make you want to turn off the strobe light to cry in the dark. Lyrically vulnerable as always, Use Me exposes singer, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, producer, and all-around creative lead Lynn Gunn in all the right ways. While being criticized as too pop by some fans, Use Me is the embodiment of the new PVRIS, and they don’t seem in any way apologetic for it.

Touché AmoréLament Album Review

LA post-hardcore band Touché Amoré isn’t holding anything back on their fifth studio album, Lament. Rife with the scream-singing stylings of Jeremy Bolm Touché Amoré is known for, Lament grinds out every vocal while the guitar, drums, and bass beautifully glide from verse to chorus to bridge. If you miss At The Drive-In or fancy La Dispute, this is a perfect album to introduce you to Touché Amoré before you dive into their back-catalog that spans over a decade. Hard-hitting from track one, “Come Heroine,” the only reprieve from the intensity comes on “A Broadcast” (that sneaks in some country twang), and closer “A Forecast.” At only eleven songs and just shy of thirty-six minutes, this short but masterfully crafted album packs a post-hardcore punch.