Review : The Graduate - Only Every Time
SputnikmusicNo matter how much one resists, passing judgment on music can wear a person down. It is often difficult not to look too microscopically at what you are rating and forget what the true purpose of the music is. Worse still, a form of elitism can infiltrate into the equation, leading to generalizations which are nothing but myth. You know the kind: Radio only plays crap, lead singles cannot be an album’s best track, and pop-punk was only good before it became popular. Another confounding notion is that anyone can write a catchy chorus. However, quality choruses are not as prevalent as one might think. Sure, one-hit wonders will always exist by fluking a contagious passage, but the fact that they struggle to replicate such success should be telling. Accomplished artists have the ability to write a handful of superior choruses per album (which will usually become singles), but then there are those rare albums that are so jam-packed with killer refrains, that it is easy to look past the minor indiscretions elsewhere…
Ladies and gentleman; the winner of the “Jimmy Eat World’s Bleed American” Award for 2010 is… (Insert drum-roll and dramatic pause here)… The Graduate, with their second full-length album ‘Only Every Time’.
In a musical age of layers and overdubs demanding multiple listens, seldom has an album as instantaneously infectious crossed this reviewer’s ears. If first impressions were the be all and end all, then ‘Only Every Time’ would race immediately to the top of the charts. Deserving much credit for this aural extravaganza is amazing opener ‘Don’t Die Digging’. As soon as the harmonized gang vocals of its chorus overcome one’s senses, it is obvious that “anthemic” is too light a word for this sublime cut. Importantly however, the same song also displays a technical edge which boosts its replay factor. The dual guitar attack of Matt Kennedy and Max Sauer slickly weave value-adding textures that may initially be missed simply because you will be having such a blast singing along to that glorious chorus.
Fans of the Illinoisan quintet’s debut LP ‘Anhedonia’ are sure to be impressed by its follow-up. While there is an almost comforting familiarity with song structure and track placement, the band has improved in practically every facet of their craft. Electronics are infused much subtler this time around, while question marks over Corey Warning’s lead vocals should be laid to rest since his moderately whiney inflection has all but disappeared. Warning handles gentler moments such as the aptly titled ‘Stuck (Inside My Head)’ and the heartfelt ‘Pull Me In’ especially impressively. Proof of the cohesion evident on ‘Only Every Time’, those two tracks are split by the riotously fun ‘Make Believe’, a track that brings the “woh wohs” and Jimmy Eat World would be proud to call their own. It is also a more mature The Graduate showcased here with a greater sense of ambition evident. On soaring closer ‘For The Missing’, they defy convention and record a sub-three minute epic....full text
RamonosaurusrexxWhat a strange two year (or so) journey it has been for one of the most promising bands in the scene, Springfield, Illinois’, The Graduate. After releasing their debut album Anhedonia to much fanfare and critical acclaim, their label, Icon Mes, folded, and the band found themselves without a home. After a short tour in late 2008, the band decided not to dwell on the label issue and began to work on new material. After a year and half of being label-less, Razor & Tie signed the quintet, bringing relief to fans that have waited so long for new material. And it is well worth the wait, as their second full-length, Only Every Time, is the sound of a band realizing their full potential.
While plenty of music fans fell in love with the sound and structure of Anhedonia, Only Every Time features a richer, more diverse sound; it’s an atmospheric auditory treat, featuring musicianship that envelops your senses. Opener “Don’t Die Digging” is a great example with technical guitar riffs needling in and out, as the gang-vocal infused chorus will have you shouting and stomping along instantly. The intensity of “Siren” reminds you that The Graduate can rock out at any given moment, while showing off Corey Warning’s excellent vocal work.
But the bread and butter of Only Every Time are the mid-tempo tracks that show off the little details and intricacies in the song writing. The spacey “Stuck (Inside My Head)” is Snow Patrol-esque, only more complex, while the dazzling “Make Believe” is the anthem you’ve been searching for all summer.
Not one second of space or silence is wasted on this record, as The Graduate know how to put together a track that packs an emotional wallop. The beautiful “Pull Me In” is the highlight of Only Every Time, which features nicely layered guitar chords and subtle piano notes that span over the course of the song. Warning exclaims, “I’m falling over edges with you/I’m longing just to see your face again/I’m taking on the world to give you everything you need/while I’m away” over a chorus of “whoa-oh’s” that are reminiscent of Arcade Fire’s “Wake Up.”...full text
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